2011 has been a year of tremendous achievements, heartbreaking losses and,
at last, real hope for change in California.
In March, Illinois followed New York, New Jersey and New Mexico and abolished
the death penalty. Two months later, we at Death Penalty Focus were
thrilled to honor Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at our Annual Awards Dinner.
Governor Quinn, who had long supported the death penalty, spent two months
deliberating on his decision. At our event he spoke eloquently about his
change of heart. "If the system can't be guaranteed 100% error-free, then
we shouldn't have the system," Quinn said. "It cannot stand."
April brought the incredible Jeanne Woodford to Death Penalty Focus
as our new Executive Director. For those of you who have not yet had the
pleasure of meeting Jeanne, please hear me when I say that she is our secret
weapon for ending the death penalty in California - and beyond. As the
warden of San Quentin State Prison, Jeanne experienced the pain of overseeing
four executions. After leaving San Quentin, she was appointed to head the
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Today, the more
people Jeanne has the opportunity to meet and talk with, the more support we
gain for ending the death penalty. It’s almost that simple. Put Jeanne in front
of a group of death penalty supporters and before long their support begins to
evaporate. We are thrilled to have her on board.
I am also thrilled that, last week, Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon halted
executions in his state. In a simple but uncompromising statement, he echoed
the growing distaste for capital punishment being heard in many of our courts,
our legislatures, churches, and homes. "I am convinced,” he wrote,
“we can find a better solution that keeps society safe, supports the victims of
crime and their families and reflects Oregon values. I refuse to be a
part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not
allow further executions while I am Governor." Bravo Governor
September brought the heartbreaking execution of Troy Davis. Yet, even on that
most awful day, Mr. Davis himself understood that his death would galvanize
support for ending this barbaric practice. On his last day he said,
"There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty
is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save
every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this
unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country…Never stop
fighting for justice and we will win!"
I wholeheartedly agree with Troy Davis. We will win. In fact, next
November California voters have the chance to replace the death penalty with
life without parole.
Here at Death Penalty Focus, we know what it takes to convince people to
end the death penalty. DPF excels at empowering exonorees, crime victims’
families, and law enforcement professionals to be effective spokespersons for
alternatives to the death penalty. We know from focus groups that these voices
are the most effective in changing hearts and minds.
make a generous donation today, so that Death Penalty Focus can honor
the memory of Troy Davis by making California the next state to end the death
Mike Farrell President, Death Penalty Focus
PS- Because of contributions from dedicated supporters
like you, we continue to move closer to ending the death penalty. We can’t do
this work without you. Please donate today!
Posted in Blog
CommentsAdd a Comment
Comment by Wendell Burns, May 3rd, 2012 7:40pm
I grew up in Garden Grove, in about 1980 my friend Darin kendrick was the 17th victim of the freeway killer. My Uncle Charles, they still have not caught his killer. My best friend, Steven Curtis Mincy, murdered by a man who did time for man slaughter. My friend Wayne Anderson murdered by his wife. A man I spouncered in A.A. Adam, murdered by his boss over money, and now up for paroll. Now my nephew found burned in his car this year. The only reason the death penalty does not work is because of people like you who side for the murderers. Darin was forced to drink acid after being torchered and raped, Steve begged for his life. Give them what they dowled out and there will be a lot less murder.