WOW Dems members gathered on Thursday evening, October 8, 2015 for the regularly scheduled meeting and were treated to an educational and interesting talk from Kristen Houle, Executive Director of Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP).
Kristen gave a passionate and fact-filled presentation highlighting especially the four factors responsible for the decline in death penalty sentences nationwide with a particular focus on Texas sentencing. These factors are: adoption of the sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole in 2005, the exorbitant cost of death penalty trials that cannot be borne by many counties, improvements in the quality of legal counsel, especially for indigent defendants and a growing awareness by society of the risk of wrongful conviction. Kristen also emphasized the arbitrary nature of death penalty cases and sentences – in Texas, 60% of the death sentences come from just five counties: Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Travis and McLennan!
TCADP is the only statewide organization dedicated solely to abolishing the death penalty. They do this work by speaking at forums such as WOW Dems for education and awareness, reaching out to elected officials (District Attorneys, County Commissioners, State District Judges, etc.), engaging faith leaders and working for grassroots mobilization of the citizens of Texas. Kristen asked that anyone interested sign up to receive their newsletter at: http://tcadp.org/get-informed/receive-email-updates/.
We were also very fortunate to have four candidates for 2016 attend and introduce themselves.
- Gnanse Nelson – Candidate for Texas HD 66
- Karen Jacobs – Candidate for Texas HD 33
- Denise Hamilton – Candidate for Texas HD 89
- Michael Filak – Candidate for US Congressional District 3
Planning is underway for next year’s general meetings, so stay tuned for the interesting and informative topics coming your way!