URGENT ACTION APPEAL Urgent Actions (as of 7/06//00)

Urgent Actions Against the Death Penalty

***************************************************

TEXAS:

NEW DOUBTS ABOUT CONVICTION AS EXECUTION SET

Rodney Reed is scheduled to be executed in Texas on 5 March.  He was sentenced to death in 1998 for a murder he says he did not commit. Three leading forensic experts have added their voices to the serious doubts about the reliability of his conviction. 

View the full Urgent Action, including case information, addresses and sample messages, here.

The body of 19-year-old Stacey Stites was found near a road in Bastrop County in rural central Texas on the afternoon of 23 April 1996. She had been reported missing that morning after failing to turn up for work. Initially the prime suspect was her fiance until, nearly a year after the murder, DNA testing of semen from the body was matched to the DNA of Rodney Reed. He was charged, convicted and sentenced to death. He had initially denied knowing the victim, but then said that they had been in a consensual intimate relationship. He has said that he initially kept it from police because he feared becoming a suspect "if I told police we had been dating". Rodney Reed is black, Stacey Stites was white, and her fiance was a white police officer. 

New expert opinion and other evidence now calls into question the state's theory of the crime and the forensic evidence on which it was based. The prosecution had argued that Rodney Reed's DNA had been left during a rape contemporaneous with the murder, which the state said had occurred around 3am on 23 April 1996. The state's forensic expert supported this theory at the trial. Since then, he has signed a statement that his testimony was misused by the prosecution and that his estimate "should not have been used at trial as an accurate statement of when Ms Stites died", and that the semen could have been left more than 24 hours before the victim's death, consistent with Reed's claim of consensual sex in that time frame. Three leading forensic pathologists have also concluded from their review of all available materials that there is no forensic evidence that Stacey Stites had been sexually assaulted at the time of her murder rather than having engaged in consensual intercourse 24 hours or more before her murder. They concluded that she was killed before midnight on 22 April 1996, and her body kept face down for some four to six hours before being transported to the location where it was found. One of the experts has concluded that the forensic evidence renders the state's theory about time of death "medically and scientifically impossible". Another has concluded "beyond a reasonable degree of medical certainty that, based on all of the forensic evidence, Mr Reed is scheduled to be executed for a crime he did not commit'.

2 people have also recently signed statements that they were aware of the relationship between Rodney Reed and Stacey Stites. Previous witnesses who attested to the relationship were deemed unreliable by the courts because of their relationship to the defendant or for other reasons. The two who recently signed these statements are former work colleagues of the victim. More than a dozen relatives of Stacey Stites have also stated that they do not believe Rodney Reed is guilty of her murder.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

In 2012, a US magistrate judge recommended after reviewing the case that Rodney Reed's habeas corpus petition, which had been pending before him for 10 years while other litigation was in train, be denied by the US District Court, which then did so. The magistrate judge wrote: "Reed was never a suspect. Never, that is, until the sperm found in Stacey Stites body was discovered to be a match to Reed's DNA ... Without reliable evidence demonstrating that this happened consensually, the DNA evidence effectively condemns Reed". The new expert forensic evidence would appear to call the magistrate judge's recommendation into serious question. UN safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty state: "Capital punishment may be imposed only when the guilt of the person charged is based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts". The new expert opinion of the three forensic pathologists, coupled with post-conviction clarification by the state's forensic expert of his the trial testimony, and the additional statements from the victim's co-workers, open "room for an alternative explanation of the facts".

View the full Urgent Action here.

Name: Rodney Rodell Reed (m)

Issues: Imminent execution, Death penalty, Legal concern

UA: 39/15

Issue Date: 19 February 2015

Country: USA

Please let us know if you took action so that we can track our impact!

EITHER send a short email to uan@aiusa.org with "UA 39/15" in the subject line, and include in the body of the email the number of letters and/or emails you sent.

OR fill out this short online form to let us know how you took action.

Thank you for taking action! Please check with the AIUSA Urgent Action Office if sending appeals after the below date. If you receive a response from a government official, please forward it to us at uan@aiusa.org or to the Urgent Action Office address below.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Please write immediately in English or your own language, referencing inmate No. 999271 in your appeals:

* Calling for clemency for Rodney Reed;

* Noting the new expert and other evidence supporting his consistent claim of innocence;

* Noting the irrevocable nature of the death penalty and the repeated errors discovered in US capital cases.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 05 MARCH 2015 TO:

Clemency Section, Board of Pardons and Paroles 

8610 Shoal Creek Blvd., Austin, Texas 78757-6814, USA

Fax: 512 467 0945

Email: bpp-pio@tdcj.state.tx.us

Salutation: Dear Board members

Governor Greg Abbott

Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 12428

Austin, Texas 78711-2428, USA

Phone: 512 463 2000

Fax: 512 463 1849

Salutation: Dear Governor

Please share widely with your networks: http://bit.ly/17vohFv

We encourage you to share Urgent Actions with your friends and colleagues! When you share with your networks, instead of forwarding the original email, please use the "Forward this email to a friend" link found at the very bottom of this email. Thank you for your activism!

UA Network Office AIUSA

600 Pennsylvania Ave SE,

Washington DC 20003

T. 202.509.8193

F. 202.509.8193

E. uan@aiusa.org

amnestyusa.org/urgent

*************************************************

FLORIDA:

CLEMENCY SOUGHT AFTER 31 YEARS ON DEATH ROW

Michael Lambrix is seeking commutation of his death sentence. If he is denied clemency, the Florida authorities will set an execution date. He has spent over half of his life on death row. Twenty-three years old when he was sent there in 1984, he turns 55 in March.

View the full Urgent Action, including case information, addresses and sample messages, here.

Clarence Moore and Aleisha Bryant were killed on 6 February 1983 and buried in a shallow grave near the trailer home that Cary Michael Lambrix shared with Frances Smith. The latter was arrested three days later on an unrelated matter and led police to the grave, a tire iron allegedly used as a murder weapon, and a shirt belonging to Michael Lambrix with blood on it. Michael Lambrix was charged with murder. His trial in 1983 ended in a mistrial after the jury could not agree on a verdict. At retrial in 1984, the jury voted to convict him of two counts of first-degree murder and recommended the death penalty, by 10 votes to two for one murder and eight to four for the other. Michael Lambrix maintains his innocence of pre-meditated murder, claiming that he acted in self-defense when Clarence Moore fatally attacked Aleisha Bryant and came at him when he tried to stop the assault.

The prosecution's key witness for its case against Michael Lambrix was Frances Smith, who testified that Lambrix had killed the victims. The judge did not allow the defense to raise prior inconsistent statements she had given to police. Deborah Hanzel, who was living with Smith's cousin at the time, testified that Michael Lambrix had told her that he killed the victims. She recanted this in 2003, saying that Lambrix "never told me at any time or in any manner indicated to me that he killed the victims". She said that Frances Smith had told her "she didn't really know what happened outside but that Mr Lambrix had told her that the guy [Moore] went nuts and he had to hit him". Deborah Hanzel said that she had lied because she had been asked by Smith to corroborate her story and had done so "due to the fear instilled in me" about Lambrix "by Frances Smith and state officials". She was recanting now, she said, because "I cannot run from the truth. I do not want to feel the guilt anymore".

The trial jury did not hear compelling mitigating evidence of Michael Lambrix's severely abusive childhood. According to evidence raised on appeal through numerous affidavits, he bore the brunt of his alcoholic father's violence, which on occasion required the boy's hospitalization. When Michael Lambrix was two years old his father kicked him off his tricycle and through a plate glass window, causing serious cuts and bleeding. On another occasion, he threw the boy against a wall that caused a cut "so deep that I could see his skull", according to his mother, who "thought he was dead". Physical and later sexual abuse continued after Michael Lambrix's parents divorced and his father obtained custody of the children.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Cary Michael Lambrix was one of seven children. In a sworn statement made during appeals, his mother recalled that after the birth of their first child, "my husband began using threats of violence toward the baby if I did not do what he wanted. These threats intensified with each child". His mother contracted polio in 1957, leaving her "paralyzed on my right side from the waist down". In her statement, she said that her husband would rape her on the special bed she had to use for polio treatment. She said that during her pregnancy with Michael, conceived in such a rape, her husband "constantly assaulted me". Michael was born in March 1960 and his mother filed for divorce in 1965, obtaining a temporary restraining order against her husband. However, after a five-month hospitalization required when he threw her against a wall, she became less able to parent, and he was given custody of the children on the condition that he hire a full-time housekeeper. The father and housekeeper subsequently married, and according to the family she was also violent. “Though most us got beaten by both our father and our stepmother," one of Michael's sisters said in an affidavit, "Cary got beaten much more often, really every day, and he got it much worse too. He always had black and blue marks on his legs and back". Neighbors and others also recognized signs of abuse, and signed affidavits to that effect. For example, one person wrote: "Through the years I recall seeing Cary come to school with black eyes and bruises up and down his arms ... I recall one time I was with Cary and his father at a fast food restaurant. Cary was standing next to his father, who was ordering food. For no reason at all Cary's father turned around and struck Cary hard in the face in front of me and others ..." Another person who met Michael Lambrix as a young teenager and who became friends with him recalled in another affidavit "I learned very quickly that Cary was physically abused by his father ... I remember being shocked and disgusted when I saw the bruises that covered Cary. Most of his body was discolored and raw ... I had never seen anything like this, and I couldn't understand how a father could do that to his son".

View the full Urgent Action here. Name: Cary Michael Lambrix (m)

Issues: Death penalty, Imminent execution, Legal concern

UA: 31/15

Issue Date: 12 February 2015

Country: USA

Please let us know if you took action so that we can track our impact!

EITHER send a short email to uan@aiusa.org with "UA 31/15" in the subject line, and include in the body of the email the number of letters and/or emails you sent.

OR fill out this short online form to let us know how you took action.

Thank you for taking action! Please check with the AIUSA Urgent Action Office if sending appeals after the below date. If you receive a response from a government official, please forward it to us at uan@aiusa.org or to the Urgent Action Office address below. 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

* Calling for Cary Michael Lambrix to be granted clemency and for his death sentence to be commuted;

* Noting the circumstantial nature of the state’s case, the Hanzel recantation, and the non-unanimous jury;

* Expressing concern that the jury did not hear compelling mitigating evidence about his background.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 MARCH 2015 TO:

Governor Rick Scott

Office of the Governor, The Capitol

400 S. Monroe St.

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001, USA

Email: Rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com

Salutation: Dear Governor

Office of Executive Clemency

Florida Parole Commission, 4070 Esplanade Way

Tallahassee, FL 32399-2450, USA

Email: ClemencyWeb@fpc.state.fl.us

Fax: 011 1 850 414-6031 or 011 1 850 488-0695

Salutation: Dear Members of the Clemency Board

Please share widely with your networks: http://bit.ly/1708373

We encourage you to share Urgent Actions with your friends and colleagues! When you share with your networks, instead of forwarding the original email, please use the "Forward this email to a friend" link found at the very bottom of this email. Thank you for your activism!

UA Network Office AIUSA

600 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington DC 20003

T. 202.509.8193

F. 202.509.8193

E. uan@aiusa.org

amnestyusa.org/urgent

______________________________________