CRIME COMMITTED AS TEENAGER – What is done to one of us is done to all
of us . . . ~J
Posted on October 10, 2012
Posted: 08 October 2012
Thanks to A.
*Racial bias claims have dogged Anthony Haynes case
*A judge was reprimanded for assembling guns during jury selection
Amnesty International has called on the Texas Board of Pardons
and Paroles and state governor Rick Perry to grant clemency to man due
to be executed in Texas next week.
Anthony Haynes, a 33-year-old African-American man, is due to be
executed on 18 October for a crime committed when he was 19 years old.
Haynes was sentenced to death in 1999 for the fatal shooting of off-duty
police officer Kent Kincaid – who was white – in Houston a year
Claims of racial discrimination, inadequate legal representation
and judicial and prosecutorial misconduct have marked the case. Only
one of the 12 jurors at his original trial was African American after
the prosecutor summarily dismissed four of six black prospective
jurors. In 2009, a federal appeals court ruled that Haynes should get a
new trial because of such racial discrimination claims, but the US
Supreme Court later overturned the ruling saying that to let it stand
would have “important implications”.
Judicial misconduct also tainted the proceedings – the judge who
oversaw the controversial jury selection process dismantled and cleaned
two guns in full view of the would-be jurors. He was later reprimanded
by the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct – which found that he
had “disassembled and reassembled two revolvers” – but Haynes’ death
sentence was allowed to stand.
Meanwhile, at the trial, the jury never learned that Haynes had
taken crystal methamphetamine two days before the shooting, or what
effect this had had on him. No expert testimony was presented on his
history of mental health problems or on the mitigating effect of youth.
The prosecutor was able to argue to the jury that “no mitigation” had
been presented and that Haynes was “a dangerous predator that nothing
Since his conviction, over 30 people have signed sworn
statements filed in court saying that, if asked, they would have been
willing to testify that the crime was shockingly out of character for a
teenager they knew as non-violent and respectful.
Haynes is said to have been a model inmate and to have long
expressed deep remorse for the death of Sergeant Kincaid. On 24
September, Haynes’ lawyer filed a motion in federal court seeking a stay
of execution, but otherwise his ordinary appeals have been exhausted.
Amnesty has written to the Texas parole board and submitted a report on the case (see: http://amn.st/Q8tFlc).
Amnesty International USA researcher Rob Freer said:
“To obtain a death sentence for Anthony Haynes, the prosecution
had to persuade the jury that he would be an ongoing threat to society,
even in prison.
“The state’s case was weak – the defendant had no prior criminal
record – but it was helped by the failure of the defence lawyers to
present compelling mitigating evidence available to them.
“The culture of capital justice in Texas is such that executive
clemency is a rarity there, but here is another case that should give
even ardent death penalty supporters pause for thought about the killing
the state does in their name.”
Among those appealing for clemency is Haynes’ father, a retired Assistant Chief Investigator with the Houston Fire Department:
“The execution of my son by the State of Texas will have a
devastating effect on my whole life …. Since Anthony is my only child,
one of my main purposes for living will be taken away from me by his
execution. I am asking you to spare my son’s life, because I know the
decisions he made as a teenager are not the decisions he has made as a
man. My son is a changed person who has a heart of remorse for taking
Sgt Kincaid’s life.”
More than 100 of the inmates currently on death row in Texas
were prosecuted in Harris County, the jurisdiction where Haynes was
tried. Of the 486 people put to death in Texas since the USA resumed
executions in 1977, nearly a quarter – 116 – were convicted in Harris
County. If it were a separate state, the county would have the
second-highest execution total in the entire USA, second only to the
rest of Texas.
More than 70 of the 486 prisoners put to death in Texas were
17, 18 or 19 years old at the time of the crimes for which they were
condemned. Forty were African American, 28 of whom were executed for
crimes involving white victims. Nine out of 30 executions in the USA so
far this year have taken place in Texas.
Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all circumstances.
- TEXAS – Convicted Cop Killer in Texas Exhausts Appeals – Anthony Cardell Haynes (claimyourinnocence.wordpress.com)
- A Plea for Mercy for a Murderer in Pennsylvania (theatlantic.com)
- Philadelphia judge halts Terrance Williams’ execution (pennlive.com)
- USA: TEXAS URGED TO HALT EXECUTION OF ANTHONY HAYNES, 33 year-old AFRICA-AMERICAN MAN, FOR CRIME COMMITTED AS TEENAGER (colouredjustice.wordpress.com)
- USA: TEXAS URGED TO HALT EXECUTION OF ANTHONY HAYNES, 33 year-old AFRICA-AMERICAN MAN, FOR CRIME COMMITTED AS TEENAGER (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- Execution’s stay won’t open ‘floodgates’ (triblive.com)