By: Stacy Anderson

Stacy NormaOn Thursday October 16th the NADP family lost a stalwart abolitionist and we wanted to take a moment to remember and honor Norma’s many contributions to the repeal movement in Nebraska.

So many have a great, entertaining story about when they first met Norma. I first met her when I had just joined the board of NADP and was going on my first visit to death row. Norma rode with me that evening and could tell I was sort of nervous about my first visit, so she set my mind at ease by telling me stories from her many years of visiting the inmates. She also told me stories about how she got involved in the repeal movement during her time in Tennessee.

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frank thompson - former superintendent of the Oregon State Prison

Our keynote speaker, Frank Thompson, former superintendent of Oregon prisons, oversaw two executions.

Join us for our 2014 Annual Reception and Silent Auction!  Frank Thompson was Superintendent of death row when Oregon resumed executions. Hear his experience of overseeing and preparing corrections staff to perform two executions. Since leaving his position, Mr. Thompson has been an outspoken critic of the death penalty working with repeal groups and Legislatures across the country. You won’t want to miss his exciting perspective!

When: Monday, November 10th 7:00-8:30pm Where: Harper Center at Creighton University 602 N. 20th Street Omaha, NE  68178 parking info

The 2014 Silent Auction will feature items ranging from custom jewelry to great dining experiences. Click here to read more about our incredible Silent Auction Items!

Register Online:

We’ve previously mentioned NADP’s program Death Penalty Faithful Reflections – where we provide a congregation with educational materials about the death penalty, a volunteer to answer their questions and encourage them to write to their State Senators, and we might even host a speaker at their service. If you’d like us to have a Faithful Reflection at your home church, synagogue, or mosque, let us know and we’ll work with you to make it happen!

But there’s an even easier option!  Let’s call it Faithful Reflections “Lite” and you can do it all on your own. It’s simple – while you’re at church (or school, or book club, or a Kiwanis meeting) ask your friends or family who support death penalty repeal to sign our NADP postcards that we share with our elected officials.  If 100 people asked 5 friends to fill out postcards that’s an additional 500 notes of encouragement for our Senators to take up and pass repeal in 2015!

Send me an email at sarah@nadp.net and I’ll be sure you get some postcards and a return envelope to send them back to us.  It’s really that easy! Please help us with this project – together we can be so powerful. 

The NADP Silent Auction is a well-loved tradition at our Annual Event.  What could be better?  Buying great stuff while contributing to death penalty repeal in 2015 – it’s all win-win!  This year, on November 10, attendees will have a chance to bid on some terrific items, ranging from custom jewelry to great dining experiences.  Are you looking for a new hair stylist? Or are you in the market for art, or something unique like a delicate glass egg handmade in the Czech Republic?  Put in a bid!  Do you love Upstream Brewery, featuring great brews and tasty food in both the Old Market and West Omaha?  Or have you ever tried the marvelous Sebastian’s Table in Lincoln?  You’ll have a chance to bid on both at our Silent Auction.  And all guilt free because it’s for a great cause!  So whether you’ve always coveted a membership to FilmStreams, or you love to browse the quaintly crowded shelves of Jackson Street Books, now’s your chance!  And, just to add to the temptation, remember people have occasionally scored some great bargains at NADP’s auction. Don’t miss the fun while doing good. Register for the event today!

On October 8th, Manuel Velez, who once faced execution by the State of Texas, was released from prison in Huntsville. After 9 years, he will be reunited with his family. His freedom is a tremendous outcome in a case that has endured numerous legal twists and turns over the years. Last year, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction of Velez, who was sentenced to death in Cameron County in 2008 for the death of one-year-old Angel Gabriel Moreno. The baby was the child of Mr. Velez’s then-girlfriend, who served five years of a ten-year sentence for her role in the baby’s tragic death. The court agreed with a state district judges assessment that Mr. Velez’s defense attorneys failed to present critical medical evidence of injuries the baby sustained in the weeks and months before his death – injuries that Mr. Velez could not have caused as he was working on a construction site in Tennessee at the time.

The case of Manuel Velez is yet another example of the many things that can go wrong with the death penalty, including incompetent legal counsel, an unreliable and unrecorded police statement, prosecutorial misconduct, shoddy science, and false testimony. It’s time to wake up to the realities of the failed death penalty system.

Vicki-Pic

Vicki holding a photo of her daughter, Shannon

We are honored to host Vicki and Sylvester Schieber on a speaking tour through Nebraska this December 7-10th.  Their beautiful daughter, Shannon, was raped and killed in 1998 while finishing her first year of graduate school on a full scholarship at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Following their tragedy, they became outspoken advocates for justice reform and an end to the death penalty. Vicki is active with the national group Catholic Mobilizing Network, and the Schiebers were leaders in the successful 2013 campaign to end their home state of Maryland’s death penalty. Following that victory, they helped pass improved services for Maryland homicide victims’ families.

The Schiebers are driven by their personal experience and a strong Catholic faith that says the death penalty is a violation of their pro-life beliefs. Additionally, Syl holds a PhD in economics and argues persuasively that the death penalty is a fiscal failure. They will be speaking with religious and civic groups throughout the state, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear these nationally recognized speakers. Stay tuned for finalized event details.

If you’d like to host the Schiebers or another NADP speaker with your community of faith group, be in touch, we’re always looking for outreach opportunities.  Contact Sarah at sarah@nadp.net.

I Am Troy Davis Community Book Club

On September 21st, 2011, the state of Georgia executed Troy Anthony Davis.

Troy Davis was executed in spite of the significant doubt about his guilt– there was no physical evidence linking him to the case and seven of the nine primary witnesses eventually recanted or changed their testimony. His death served as a painful reminder to all of us that our death penalty system is broken beyond repair.

To learn more about Troy Davis’ case and the flaws in the death penalty system it exposed, check out I Am Troy Davis, a book co-authored by Jen Marlowe and Davis’ sister Martina Davis-Correia.

This fall, in memory of Troy’s execution, groups around the country will be participating in the I Am Troy Davis Community book clubLet us know if you want to host a book club discussion in your area and NADP will help to spread the word. In addition to the compelling book, there is also a discussion and study guide produced by Equal Justice USA to help facilitate your conversation.

By: Ahmad Arraseef, Communications Intern

Henry McCollum and Leon Brown are now numbers 145 and 146 on the list of innocent people exonerated from death row since 1973, based on DNA evidence. After a wrong conviction and 30 years in prison, Henry McCollum and his half – brother Leon Brown, were exonerated and set free on Tuesday, September 2nd.  McCollum and Brown’s story is one that shows the many flaws of the death penalty system. McCollum and Brown’s story begins in September 1983 when Sabrina Buie was murdered. McCollum and Brown, ages 19 and 15 at the time, were arrested for the murder. McCollum and Brown were both subjugated to intense interrogation by prosecutors, who intimidated and threatened them, despite the fact that both brothers are developmentally disabled.

They were both initially sentenced to death, but retrials in 1991 and 1992 saw McCollum convicted of murder and sentenced to death again, and Brown convicted of rape and his sentence reduced to life-in-prison. The breakthrough in the case came in 2009 when DNA analysis from a cigarette butt, found on the crime scene, linked another inmate to the murder. McCollum and Brown’s convictions were overturned by Superior Court Judge Douglas Sasser, who concluded that the results of the DNA analysis of the cigarette butt found near Sabrina’s body contradicted the case put forth by prosecutors. While celebrating McCollum and Brwon’s exoneration is important, it’s dually important to keep working toward an end of a death penalty system fraught with error.

As NADP presses forward to replacement of the death penalty in our state, we want to highlight the voices of those with personal experience with our justice system. Individuals who have lost loved ones to murder, or worked professionally with the justice system (such as prosecutors, corrections’ officials, police officers, parole officers, prison chaplains) have a unique perspective we want to learn from. If you know of someone in law enforcement or who is a murder victim family member, please reach out to NADP by emailing us at colleen@nadp.net We would love the opportunity to simply speak with these people and learn more about their story.  It’s ok if they are ambivalent, or even pro-death penalty, we just want to connect with those across the state who may have a unique perspective on the death penalty. 

The last few weeks have been productive for members of the Action Committee. Members are currently researching faith communities across the state for NADP to contact about hosting a Death Penalty Faithful Reflection event. So far, our fantastic volunteers have researched close to 300 churches in Nebraska. Soon, the Action Committee will begin reaching out to these faith communities to schedule Faithful Reflection events.

Reaching out to churches and conducting these events is no small task for the tinyNADP staff. We can’t do everything and are reliant on the support of our volunteer base. NADP still needs your help! There are many volunteer opportunities to suit your interests best! Consider joining the Action Committee, to do so just complete this survey about your interests. Please reach out to Sarah at sarah@nadp.net with any questions.