Category Archives: news

It’s “Candidate” Season!

 

When we look outside, we see that the seasons are changing.  Trees are leafing out, spring flowers are blooming and lawns too are growing.

 

It’s a season of political changes too.  The Legislature has ended and the next season—Candidate season—is already evident too.  

 

In the elections this year Kansans will choose new statewide leaders as well as new members for the House of Representatives.  Candidates have until 12 noon on June 1st to file for the primary election cycle.  A review of the current candidate list shows that 2018 may well be a time of serious campaign activity in Kansas.  Already there are PRIMARY challenges in 17 districts where at least 2 Republicans or 2 Democrats are seeking the same seat.  

 

The work of abolition does not stop when we enter “Candidate season”.  KCADP does not engage in partisan activity so we don’t endorse or give campaign donations.  What we do is educate and dialogue.  We will be doing work from our end to make sure that candidates have up to date information on the death penalty so that they are informed candidates.

 

We need our members to do education and dialogue too. When candidates come knocking at your door, engage with them about why you oppose the death penalty.  It’s important they hear from you, while on the campaign trail, that support for abolition exists in the district the candidate hopes to represent.

 

Let us know if you need additional information as “Candidate season” moves forward.  We can be reached by email via infoatksabolitiondotorg or by phone at 785-235-2237.   And by all means, let us know what you are hearing from the candidates seeking your vote!

 

“What I saw set my soul on fire…”

Sr. Helen and Jayhawks for Life leaders

“They killed a man with fire one night. They strapped him in a wooden chair and pumped electricity through his body until he was dead.” …I was there. I saw it with my own eyes. What I saw set my soul on fire, a fire that burns me still. And now here is an account of how I came to be and still am.”   (Sr. Helen Prejean)

 

Sr. Helen shared first hand accounts at KU on March 5th of her journeys with murder victim families, inmates, and corrections professionals and the reality of the death penalty.  “There’s nothing like being close to the fire” she said in describing how proximity to capital punishment’s actual process teaches a person about the impact it has on everyone it touches.

 

Sr. Helen encouraged the many young adults in the audience to continue learning and dialoguing about the death penalty because they can make a difference in political dialogue.  That is especially true in places like Kansas where the death penalty is on the books but isn’t being used.  She noted the momentum building in Kansas for abolition and encouraged those in attendance to become more involved in the abolition effort.

 

The inspiring event was organized by the KU Jayhawks for Life organization.

 

To learn more about Sr. Helen’s excellent presentation, click here for the coverage in the University Daily Kansan.

 

 

‘Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues”

Sr. Helen Prejean is coming to Kansas!

 

Monday March 5th at 7 p.m.

 

Woodruff Auditorium in the Memorial Union on the KU Campus in Lawrence

 

Jayhawks for Life is sponsoring this event which is free and open to the public.  This is a great opportunity to hear such an inspiring speaker!

 

 

photo credit:  Scott Langley

 

Retired Kansas Secretary of Corrections Werholtz: “It’s time to end the death penalty”.

 

Retired Kansas Secretary of Corrections, Roger Werholtz, has spoken out recently twice in support of death penalty abolition.

 

He served as Secretary of Corrections in Kansas for 8 years, as well as interim director in the Colorado Department of Corrections in 2013. He told the October 21st Abolition Conference that there is too much misconduct and error in the system “to be absolutely certain” we would not execute an innocent person.

 

He also addressed public safety and shared about his conversations with the families of the last 3 corrections professionals murdered in Colorado. All of them opposed the death penalty because they knew there were better ways to keep the public safe.

 

Secretary Werholtz told conference attendees “because of the drain of resources the death penalty creates in Kansas we’re not as safe as we could be.”

 

Then, in a October 31st guest column in the Topeka Capital Journal, Secretary Werholtz reiterated how the death penalty harms public safety.  He noted that studies have shown defense and court costs are significantly higher in death penalty cases.  He documented the ongoing challenges in the Kansas prison system–inability to staff the prisons, mandatory overtime, high prison guard turnover, loss of programs that do make a difference in prisoner behavior.  He went on to address the issue of a new prison and the resultant need for a new execution chamber.  Secretary Werholtz noted that consequences of moving the death chamber to El Dorado would be additional trauma for the staff there because of the well documented psychological cost for staff who know an inmate and participate in his/her execution.

 

He concluded his guest column this way:  “…There is no shortage of needs for the current Kansas Department of Corrections. We absolutely shouldn’t do anything to make the job of being a Kansas corrections officer even more difficult. With funds so scarce, and the needs so great, it simply makes no sense for us to continue to invest more in our ineffective death penalty. The opportunity is ripe: It’s time to end the death penalty.”

 

McIntyre case gives reason to pause

 

 

Rev. Thea Nietfeld and Bill Lucero

Rev. Thea Nietfeld and Bill Lucero

 

 

 

 

On Oct. 13th, after proceedings in Wyandotte County District court, Lamonte McIntyre was released from custody after serving 23 years on charges of murdering two persons.  The District Attorney agreed to the release calling it a case of “manifest injustice”.  McIntyre became the second person released in Kansas in two years due to exoneration after being convicted of first degree murder.

 

Murder victim family member, Bill Lucero, of Topeka, addressed the topic of error in our criminal justice system from a victim family perspective in a recent Topeka Capital Journal letter to the editor.

 

“…The wrongful conviction and imprisonment of Lamonte McIntyre is a sickening reminder of how our criminal justice system can be manipulated by one corrupt high-ranking police officer’s ulterior motives which, in combination with an unethical relationship during the trial, amounted to significant judicial misconduct.

 

There are many of us who have lost loved ones to murder and who oppose capital punishment if for no other reason than the fear of contributing to the execution of an innocent defendant….”

 

To read the full letter on the TCJ website click here.

 

2017 Nominee Slate Announced

 

The Nominee Slate for this year’s annual meeting has been announced.

 

Officer Nominees term ending 2019:

Donna Schneweis – Chair
Robert Sanders- Secretary

 

Board of Directors term ending 2019:

Current directors:

Sister Therese Bangert
LaGretia Copp
Dalton Glasscock

New director:

Micah Kubic

 

Elections will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday October 21st  at the Conference in McPherson.

 

Register today for the 2017 Abolition Conference!

Flyer 2017 Final

 

Join us at this informative conference!

Register today by emailing infoatksabolitiondotorg or by leaving a message at 785-235-2237.

The Kansas Death Penalty: What a Waste, 2017!

 

Join us in McPherson on Saturday Oct 21st for our annual meeting and abolition Conference!

 

Speakers include:

Roger Werholtz, retired Secretary of Kansas Department of Corrections

Celeste Dixon, murder victim family member

Carolyn McGinn, Kansas Senator, Chair of Senate Ways and Means

 

Time is 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Location is McPherson Church of the Brethren,  200 North Carrie.

 

This event is free and open to the public.

 

To register contact KCADP by email at infoatksabolitiondotorg or by calling 785-235-2237 and give us your name and address.  We hope you can join us!

 

2017 Annual Conference: Oct 21st!

 

Mark your calendars today for the 2017 KCADP Annual Conference!

 

It will be Oct. 21st in McPherson from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

 

Speakers are being finalized and will be announced soon along with registration details.

 

This is an event you won’t want to miss!

 

 

Remembering Bob Hessman: Man of Faith and Courage

 

Bob Hessman take 2

 

Over the years, we have been blessed by the witness of Bob Hessman and his family as they dealt with the loss of their beloved Mary Mel Eesa Rains to homicide.

 

Bob and his family talked of the challenges they faced after her murder, and how they drew strength from their faith and family and friends as they went on without their beloved Mel. They spoke out time and again against the death penalty as murder victim family members.

 

Bob recently passed away. We will miss this man of faith and courage.

 

Even though he will no longer be with us in person, we can continue to learn from his personal witness through this video in the KCADP archives.