Category Archives: news

The Death Penalty in Kansas…I’ve got Issues with that!

 

Did you happen to miss KTWU’s latest “I’ve Got Issues” program, when the death penalty in Kansas was discussed?

Bummed you didn’t get to see the interview with Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking?”

Disappointed that you missed our very own Mary Sloan and Ron Wurtz talk about the benefits of repealing the death penalty in Kansas?

Ron from IGI Mary from IGI

Don’t worry you can watch the entire episode right here!

 

KCADP wants to hire you!

Want to be more involved in bringing Abolition to Kansas?  

Then check out this open position, it might just be perfect for you!

 

JOB DESCRIPTION – FIELD ORGANIZER

 

Job Title:                Field Organizer

Position Type:      Full-time

Reports To:           Executive Director

Salary:                     Based on Experience

 

Position Description:

The Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty (KCADP) is a non-profit organization that is preparing for a legislative campaign. The field organizer will be a vital part of this campaign, responsible for traveling to and organizing within key legislative districts under the Executive Director’s supervision and oversight.  With a specific focus on Wichita and Western Kansas area supporters – including victims’ families, law enforcement officials, political conservatives, moderates and liberals  and diverse faith groups – the field organizer will carry out systematic outreach with the goal of building grassroots support for repeal and identifying key volunteers and partners.

 

Essential duties and responsibilities include:

  • Collaborate with and mobilize strategically important constituency groups
  • Identify ways to develop new leadership among members and supporters
  • Build coalitions and networks within targeted legislative districts
  • Plan and execute educational events in targeted areas of the state
  • Assist in trainings on speaking, advocacy and grassroots lobbying
  • Prepare written materials (such as fliers and brochures) to support overall grassroots campaign
  • Work closely with the Executive Director to ensure grassroots organizing efforts advance legislative goals as specified in the strategic plan
  • Speak on behalf of KCADP at meetings, events, and other venues
  • Work with staff and volunteers to ensure that the database is up to date
  • Contribute to the KCADP’s newsletter as requested
  • Send out action alerts and updates to KCADP members

Qualifications/Requirements

  • Confident public speaker
  • Commitment to ending the death penalty
  • Strong verbal, written, and interpersonal skills; familiarity with internet/social media
  • Comfortable working with and motivating volunteers in various projects
  • Ability to interface with diverse population groups
  • Attentiveness to detail and ability to work under pressure
  • Self-starter, but respectful of team goals and processes
  • Ability to work some evenings and weekends
  • A valid driver’s license, auto insurance and ability to drive within the state as needed
  • Experience with community organizing; experience in event planning a plus
  • Proficiency in Word, Excel and PowerPoint; use of Publisher a plus
  • Bachelor’s degree in social service or human services discipline
  • Bondable

 

 Please email your resume and a cover letter to Mary Sloa  (maryatKSabolitiondotorg)  n at maryatKSabolitiondotorg.

 

Botched Execution in Oklahoma

 

Traditional and social media around the nation are exploding with the news of last night’s botched execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett. Lockett died after the State of Oklahoma, using a new and untested drug combination, aborted the procedure when it was clear that the execution was not proceeding as planned.

 

News reports and witnesses relate that Lockett cried out “man” and that he writhed and struggled to get off the gurney after he was supposed to be unconscious. Officials closed the blinds to the viewing gallery after Lockett struggled.

 

The event lasted at least 43 minutes. Lockett’s cause of death was reported to be a massive heart attack.

 

This was to have been a double execution, the state’s first since 1937. The execution of the other condemned man, Charles Warner, has been postponed. It is clear that Oklahoma should halt all executions and carry out an independent investigation.

 

“We know that the death penalty is fraught with risk, error and expense, and it does nothing to protect society from future crime,” said Donna Schneweis, Chair of the Kansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (KCADP). Lethal injection is not an acceptable method for states who still carry out the death penalty as shown in last night’s event and the prolonged and grotesque execution of Ohio convicted killer Dennis McGuire in January. Last night’s execution in Oklahoma, like the one in Ohio in January, undermine public confidence in our criminal justice system.

 

The solution is to replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The death penalty should not continue.

 

The Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty (KCADP), The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the National Coalition and many others are calling for change. This shocking event serves as an even greater motivation to abolish the death penalty in Kansas and join 18 other states that have already outlawed this archaic practice.

Thank you Mr. Goldstein!

GOLDSTEIN

 

KCADP would like to extend a heartfelt Thank You! to Tom Goldstein, an Exoneree and Kansas native. Mr. Goldstein partnered with us here in his home state to help fight against House Bill 2389, a bill that advocates speeding up the appeals process in death penalty cases.

 

Tom Goldstein was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to a term of 27 years to life for a murder he did not commit. His wrongful conviction was based upon systemic flaws in our justice system, the testimony of a drug addicted jail house informant, an eye witness who was coerced by the police, and counsel who failed to adequately investigate his case.

 

Since his release from prison in 2004 Mr. Goldstein has pursued a civil lawsuit against the City of Long Beach, the detectives assigned to his case, and the County of Los Angeles. During the discovery phase of his suit his attorneys uncovered four other cases of wrongful convictions involving the same detectives. One was the case of Oscar Lee Morris who spent 17 years on death row before being exonerated in 2000.

 

When called upon to speak Mr. Goldstein jumps at the opportunity and has spoken at various universities, as well as, with many Congress-persons, Senators and Legislators.

 

We would like to thank Mr. Goldstein for finding his way back to his home state to share is story and provide compelling testimony against House Bill 2389.

 

“I spent many long, wasted and lonely years in prison. Participating in this process gives meaning and value to these lost years.  Through my first hand experiences I can unequivocally state that our justice system is flawed. Sometimes the system gets it wrong and we need the appeals process to work in order to win our freedom. I believe that the shortcuts this bill proposes would not serve the public interest nor make our system more reliable. In fact it would make the execution of an innocent man more likely.” ~ Tom Goldstein

 

ACT NOW – HB2389 Moves to the House

 

As Senate Substitute for HB 2389 (previously SB 257) moves to the House, it has been referred to a Conference Committee (three members of the House and three members of the Senate.)  The Conference Committee will hold an Informational Hearing on March 5th at 1:30 pm, in Room 152 S.

 

NOW is the time to take action! Please contact each member of the commitee and express your opposition and also contact all members of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee.

 

The Conference Committee members are Rep, John Rubin785 296-7690Rep. Ramon Gonzalez,785 296-7500Rep. Janice Pauls,785 296-7657Sen. Jeff King,  785-296-7361Sen. Greg Smith785-296-7367; and Sen. David Haley785-296-7376.

 

The Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee members are Rep. John Rubin785 296-7690Rep. Ramon Gonzalez785 296-7500Rep. Janice Pauls620-663-8961;  Rep. Steven Anthimides785-296-3971Rep. Steven Becker785 296-7196Rep. Rob Bruchman785 296-7644Rep. Larry Campbell785 296-7632Rep. Blaine Finch785 296-7655Rep. Gail Finney785 296-7648Rep. Brett Hildabrand785 296-7659Rep. Russell Jennings785 296-7196Rep. Melanie Meier785 296-7650; and Rep. Tom Moxley785 296-7689.

 

Please join us at the hearing and show the Committee that Kansans oppose this bill that rushes the process and increases the chances of executing the innocent.

 

Read the facts about HB 2389 here!

 

For more information, don’t hesitate to contact your area coordinator or call the office.

 

Thank you for your continued support and action!

 

Calling all Advocates! Senate to vote tomorrow!

SB257HB2389 Sticker

 

We have confirmed that the Senate will vote tomorrow, Wednesday, February 12th, on SB257/HB2389! 

 

Read the facts about SB257/HB2389 here.

 

Please join us tomorrow at 2:30pm, in the Senate Chambers, and show your opposition to this bill!

 

KCADP staff will hand out stickers so the Senate will be able to see on which side of this issue we stand!

 

If you have not already contacted your senator, NOW is the perfect time!  Find your senator here and urge him or her to oppose this bill!

 

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow! If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office.

 

Senate to vote on SB 257/HB 2389!

SB257HB2389 Sticker

 

The Kansas Senate will vote on SB 257/HB 2389 very soon! Read the facts about SB257 here.  However, due to the inclement weather we have had over the last week, the Kansas Legislature is running a bit behind of schedule.  We do know that this vote will take place at 2:30pm, but unfortunately at this point, we are unable to confirm a specific date for this vote.

 

Once the vote is scheduled we will send you another alert, giving you plenty of time to plan to join us at the Capitol and show the Senate that we oppose this bill! Remember, you can always listen to the live proceedings at the Capitol by clicking this link then clicking on the House or Senate link under theLive Audio Broadcast heading.

 

We know many of you have taken the time to contact your senator to urge them to oppose this bill and we thank you! If you haven’t had the chance to contact your senator yet, NOW is the perfect time!  Find your senator here.

 

Please note that SB 257/HB 2389, though dealing with the issue of review and appeals in death penalty cases, does NOT affect repeal of the death penalty.

 

SB126, which would repeal the death penalty, had a hearing in January, and had strong and compelling testimony in favor of repeal. Senate Bill 126 is not currently scheduled for a vote, but we will keep you updated on any progress.

 

Please stay turned to our website and Facebook page, as we will keep you updated with the most current information!

Update on SB 257

 

The Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Monday January 27, 2014, to move forward SB 257, which limits the appeals process in death penalty cases.  During this process, SB 257 was “grafted” onto an available House bill and it is now referred to as HB 2389.

 

For all of you that attended the hearings and  contacted Senate Judiciary Chair Jeff King and any other members of the Judiciary committee, we say thank you!  But our work must continue.   Please contact your State Senator and ask him or her to stop any effort to pass HB 2389/SB 257.  You can find your senator here.

 

This legislation takes an already flawed death penalty and rushes the appeals process which creates an even greater risk of executing the innocent.  This practice is ill advised, expensive and unnecessary. Click here to read the facts on HB 2389/SB 257 and don’t hesitate to contact our office with any questions or feedback.

 

We will keep you posted on any movement, but your legislators will be at the heart of this process so please let us know what you are hearing!

 

SB 257: Calling all Advocates!

SB257 Sticker

 

This coming Monday, January 27th, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to take up SB 257, a bill that proposes to fix the death penalty by speeding up appeals!

Join us at the Capitol, in Room 346-S, at 10:30am Monday to show your opposition to this bill! 

We want to fill the hearing room, just as we did during testimony, and let the committee know that we oppose this bill!

 

Look for KCADP staff when you arrive to get your SB 257 opposition sticker.

Click here to read the facts on SB 257.

If you have not already, NOW is the time to call Chairman Jeff King at 785-296-7361 and express your opposition to SB257 (you can also email him at JeffdotKingatsenatedotksdotgov  (JeffdotKingatsenatedotksdotgov)  ). In addition, click here to see if your senator sits on this committee and, if so, contact them too!

 

Now is NOT the time for Kansas to pass legislation that threatens innocent lives! Thank you for your continued support!

 

Action Alert: SB 257 Could Threaten Innocent Lives!

 

Thank you to everyone who came yesterday to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the death penalty and invited others to attend. We had a great turnout from KCADP’s membership! Now we’re turning our attention to another critical hearing this coming week.

On Tuesday, January 21, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the death penalty again at a hearing on SB 257. This bill is a dangerous proposal that could threaten innocent life by limiting the appeals and safeguards in capital cases. If you can make it, please come to this hearing and show your opposition to this bill:

  • WHAT: Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on death penalty
  • WHEN: Tuesday, January 21, 10:30am
  • WHERE: Room 346S at the Capitol, 300 SW 10th Ave., Topeka

Now is an important time to call Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King at 785-296-7361 and urge him to OPPOSE SB 257 (you also can email him at JeffdotKingatsenatedotksdotgov  (JeffdotKingatsenatedotksdotgov)  ). In addition, click here to see if your senator sits on this committee and, if so, contact them too.

Here are some of the major flaws with SB 257 to share Sen. King:

  • Making other criminal cases languish in the criminal justice system is no way to fix the death penalty. Under SB 257, appeals in all cases must wait in line behind death penalty cases to receive their day in court. As a result, this proposal delays finality to victims of rapes, non-capital homicides, kidnappings, and other serious crimes. Also, individuals wrongfully convicted of non-capital crimes will spend more time in jail as their appeals are delayed.
  • The burden for proving innocence is unreasonably high. Unless a defendant proves by “clear and convincing evidence” his or her innocence, a court cannot grant relief and stop an execution according to SB 257. Meeting this high standard is difficult in court, especially in cases that lack DNA evidence. So even if it is more than likely that a defendant is innocent, that is not sufficient for a court to stop an execution.
  • Shortening appeals is dangerous given how long it often takes for evidence of innocence to emerge. SB 257 puts forward a number of provisions that would limit the time available for appeals in capital cases. These changes significantly raise the risk of executing an innocent person. Of the 143 individuals sentenced to death and later exonerated in the US since 1973, it took on average over 10 years for them to prove their innocence, and in some cases the wait was 20 or 30 years.

Please contact Sen. King at 785-296-7361 and urge him to oppose SB 257. Now is not the time for Kansas to pass legislation that likely will have the effect of threatening innocent life.

Thank you,

Mary Sloan

KCADP Executive Director