Thursday, June 30, 2005

Write a Letter to the Editor to Share your Feelings about the DP

Here are addresses. Please comment and let us know what you wrote!

Burlington Free Press
P.O. Box 10, Burlington, VT 05402
letters@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com

Rutland Herald
27 Wales Street, P.O. Box 668, Rutland, VT 05702
letters@rutlandherald.com

Times Argus
540 N. Main Street, P.O. Box 707, Barre, VT 05641
letters@timesargus.com

Brattleboro Reformer
62 Black Mountain Road, Brattleboro, VT 05301
news@reformer.com

Join Cherry at the Burlington Farmer's Market

Cherry just wrote to say:

I'm planning to go to the Burlington farmers' market Saturday morning, to collect petition signatures. I'm aiming for nine o'clock, and I'll be at the top of the market, just past the pasta restaurant, fyi. In case anyone else would like to join me.

Please join her! And keep passing out the online petition:

http://www.petitiononline.com/vadp/petition.html

We've gotten people from over 50 Vermont towns -- lets get people from all 251!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Press Release: Death Penalty Opponents to Rally Outside Federal Courthouse

June 28, 2005

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nancy Welch, 802-862-1686; Joseph Gainza, 802-228-2340

Death Penalty Opponents to Rally Outside Federal Courthouse

Burlington--As Vermont’s first death penalty case in decades moves into the penalty phase, opponents of capital punishment will hold a rally and protest outside the US Federal Building where the trial is taking place.

The rally will take place this Wednesday, June 29, at 5:30 pm.

“It’s time to make our voices heard,” explained Rachel Lawler, a student at St. Michael’s College and a member of Vermonters Against the Death Penalty, sponsors of the rally.

Nancy Welch, also a rally organizer, agreed. “In the first phase of the trial, we held a silent vigil,” Welch said. “But now we must speak up – and speak loudly – to keep the death penalty out of Vermont.”

The rally follows last week’s “Keep Vermont Death-Penalty Free” panel that brought more than 100 people, including former Governor Madeleine Kunin, to Burlington’s Contois Auditorium. In addition, Vermotners Against the Death Penalty have collected more than 2,000 signatures from Vermonters via both paper and online petitions against any return of the death penalty to Vermont.

Vermont effectively abolished its death penalty more than 30 years ago. However, at the urging of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, the U.S. Justice Department used a 1994 federal law to bring a capital case against Donald Fell, who has been convicted of kidnapping and murdering Tressa King of North Clarendon in 2000.

“The Bush administration chose to go after the death penalty in this and 11 other cases at the precise moment when Illinois and Maryland had declared moratoriums against the death penalty, and nationwide people were seriously considering getting rid of capital punishment completely,” noted David Buckingham, a member of Vermonters Against the Death Penalty and employee of Burlington’s City Market.

The rally is sponsored by Vermonters Against the Death Penalty, a coalition whose members include the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, the International Socialist Organization, Pax Christi Burlington, the Peace and Justice Center, the United Church of Christ Just Peace Advocates, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Press Release: Death Penalty Opponents, Former Death Row Inmate to Speak Against Capital Punishment

June 17, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Welch, 802-862-1686; Joseph Gainza, 802-228-2340

Death Penalty Opponents, Former Death Row Inmate
To Speak Against Capital Punishment

Burlington--As Vermont’s first death penalty case in decades gets under way, four prominent opponents of capital punishment will argue for keeping Vermont death-penalty free. All four are part of a public panel planned for June 22, 7 to 9 pm, in Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall.

One speaker, Billy Moore, a former prisoner turned Pentecostal preacher, will speak from an insider’s view of death-row. Moore served nearly 17 years on death row for a murder he admits to committing in 1974, when he was a 22-year-old Army private. He came within days of execution when the family of the victim, who had befriended Moore in prison, appealed for clemency. They were joined in their appeal by many others, including Mother Theresa and The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which dubbed Moore “the saintly figure of death row.”

The Pardons and Parole Board commuted Moore’s sentence to life imprisonment
And one year later, in 1991, he was paroled. He recently published his memoir, I Shall Not Die: Seventy-Two Hours on Death Watch, and has spoken at numerous law schools and universities including Harvard and Yale.

“Many of us oppose the death penalty because in at least one in seven cases, someone sentenced to die later turns out to have been innocent,” explained Nancy Welch of Vermonters Against the Death Penalty, sponsors of the panel. “But the Reverend Moore’s story is a reminder that someone can be guilty of murder and over time undergo a dramatic change.”

Other panelists include attorney and former Vermont State Legislator Sandra Baird, whose daughter, Caroline Crichfield Baird, was murdered in 1998, and David Kaczynski, whose brother, Ted, was convicted for the infamous “Unabomber” murders. Mr. Kaczynski is head of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty, which recently fought off an attempt by New York Governor George Pataki to reintroduce the death penalty there.

Kaczynski is particularly critical of the use of capital punishment against the mentally ill. His brother, who is serving a life sentence, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Ms. Baird also opposes the use of capital punishment under any circumstances.

Rounding out the panel is Alice Kim, organizer with the National Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Ms. Kim also plays a leading role in efforts to abolish the death penalty in Illinois. In 2000, the state’s Republican governor declared the death penalty “broken” after 13 death row inmates were found to be innocent. Then in 2003, former Governor George Ryan cleared death row completely, pardoning four additional prisoners and commuting the sentences for all others.

Vermont effectively abolished its death penalty more than 30 years ago. However, at the urging of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, the U.S. Justice Department used a 1994 federal law to bring a capital case against Donald Fell, who is charged with kidnapping and murdering Tressa King of North Clarendon in 2000. Testimony in Fell’s trial is set to begin June 20.

“It’s not only an attempt to bring the death penalty back to a state like Vermont that had abolished the death penalty,” noted David Buckingham, a student at the University of Vermont who is also active in Vermonters Against the Death Penalty. “The Bush administration chose to go after the death penalty in this and 11 other cases at the precise moment when Illinois and Maryland had declared moratoriums against the death penalty, and nationwide people were seriously considering getting rid of capital punishment completely.”

The United States stands alone among the world’s democracies in its continued use of the death penalty for certain crimes.

“Our aim with the panel is not to make arguments about the crime that Mr. Fell is charged with committing,” explained Allen Gilbert, head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont. “Our aim is to make sure that Vermonters have a chance to hear arguments against capital punishment, no matter what the crime, from a range of people very close to this issue.”

“We need to remember why Vermont banned the death penalty in the first place,” said St. Michael’s student Rachel Lawler, also a member of the Vermonters Against the Death Penalty Coalition. “We need to talk about how, at both the state and federal levels, we can keep it from coming back for any reason in any form.”

The panel is free and open to the public, with donations accepted at the door. It is sponsored by Vermonters Against the Death Penalty, a coalition whose members include the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, the International Socialist Organization, Pax Christi Burlington, the Peace and Justice Center, the United Church of Christ Just Peace Advocates, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.