Stop the Execution of Heliberto Chi 10/3/07

There is an execution in Texas this Wednesday. If this execution is stopped, then it could mean that we have a de facto moratorium on executions in the United States, pending the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of lethal injections.

Write Gov Perry to Urge Him to Stop the Execution of Heliberto Chi and to stop all executions pending the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of lethal injections.


One Execution Scheduled in Texas in OctoberHeliberto Chi October 3Write Gov Perry to Urge Him to Stop the Execution of Heliberto Chi and to stop all executions pending the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of lethal injectionsLocal Moratorium on Death Penalty called by Nueces County DATDCJ Info on ChiOffice of the Governor Main Switchboard: (512) 463-2000 [office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST]
Office of the Governor Fax: (512) 463-1849For anyone who wonders about stays on the day of an execution here is a number to call:
TDCJ Public information—1-936-437-1303 —-just ask if the execution is still scheduled.The state of Texas is scheduled to execute Heliberto Chi on October 3, 2007. Chi is a citizen of Honduras who was sentenced to death for the March 24, 2001 murder of Armand Paliotta, 56, at the K&G Men’s Superstore in southwest Arlington.Chi’s court-appointed attorney, Wes Ball, says that Chi was not allowed to contact his country’s consulate as prescribed by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. That 1963 treaty was meant to allow foreigners who are arrested the right to speak with their consulates.”Nobody told Mr. Chi he had a right to a consular official, and it was never brought to his attention,” Ball said.If Texas executes a person who was not given the right to contact his consulate and seek assistance when he was arrested, then U.S. citizens who travel abroad may not be guaranteed the right by other countries to contact the U.S. consulate when they are arrested.The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted a case out of Kentucky (Baze v. Rees) in which two death row inmates are challenging lethal injection as cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Constitution’s 8th Amendment. A judicious course of action would be for the state of Texas to suspend executions until the Supreme Court determines whether the three drug method used in Kentucky, Texas and other states does not violate the U.S. Constitution.Please stop this execution and all Texas executions until after the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Kentucky case.The Texas Legislature should create an interim committee to study the administration of the death penalty in Texas, paying particular attention to the risk of executing an innocent person, the question of the method of execution, the need for a statewide Office of Public Defenders for Capital Cases to ensure that each person facing a death sentence has competent representation, the need to establish an Innocence Commission, and other reforms to improve the administration of justice in Texas.In the text of your message, urge the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Perry to commute Chi’s sentence to life in prison and to stop all executions pending the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of lethal injections. Your message will also be sent to each member of the Texas Legislature.The government of Honduras has urged Texas officials to spare the life of Chi. The request was part of a clemency petition signed by 50 nations seeking a commuted sentence for Heliberto Chi. Under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 (VCCR), local authorities must notify all detained foreigners “without delay” of their right to have their consulate informed of their detention. At the request of the national, the authorities must then notify the consulate without delay, facilitate unfettered consular communication and grant consular access to the detainee. Consuls are empowered to arrange for their nationals’ legal representation and to provide a wide range of humanitarian and other assistance, with the consent of the detainee. Local laws and regulations must give “full effect” to the rights enshrined in Article 36. The USA ratified the VCCR without reservations in 1969; so fundamental is the right to consular notification and access that the US Department of State considers it to be required under customary international law in all cases, even if the detainee’s home country has not signed the VCCR. As of 1 January 2000, at least 167 countries were parties to the VCCR.

Write Gov Perry to Urge Him to Stop the Execution of Heliberto Chi and to stop all executions pending the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of lethal injections

First-ever local moratorium on death penalty in Texas called by Nueces County DA

Nueces County District Attorney, Carlos Valdez, has put a hold on seeking the death penalty until after the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of lethal injections. This is probably the first time in Texas that a DA has put into effect a local moratorium on seeking the death penalty in response to a pending Supreme Court case.Nueces County has perhaps more reason than most counties to be extra cautious, because in 1989 Carlos De Luna was executed by Texas after being convicted in Nueces County. An investigation by the Chicago Tribune in 2006 uncovered evidence that he was probably not the killer and was in fact most likely innocent.Governor Perry should take a cue from the DA in Nueces County and take steps to stop all executions in Texas pending the ruling by the Supreme Court. Perry can start by issuing a 30-day stay of execution for Heliberto Chi, who is scheduled for execution on Oct 3. He can then write a letter to all district attorneys in Texas asking them to work with convicting courts to withdraw all scheduled execution dates and not set any new dates until after the Court’s ruling.Click here to send an email to Governor Perry.Monday, October 1, 2007Nueces D.A. won’t seek death penalty while Supreme Court has yet to rule

The Nueces County District Attorney’s Office put a hold on seeking the death penalty in capital murder cases on Monday in light of the Supreme Court’s decision last week to hear a case that questions whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.Under Texas law, capital murder carries only two possible sentences: death or life in prison without parole.”Until we can get some direction from the Supreme Court, we will waive the death penalty and seek life in prison, which is the only other punishment allowed,” District Attorney Carlos Valdez said.The case, which will be heard by the high court early next year, was filed by two inmates on death row in Kentucky who claim that lethal injection is inhumane and violates the Eighth Amendment.

Click here to write a thank you note to the Nueces County district Attorney. Just say thank you to him for putting a hold on seeking the death penalty.

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