Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Carter and Tutu Plead for the Life of Kenneth Foster, Jr.

Right: Kenneth Foster with his daughter, Nydesha Foster

As of this writing (8/29/2007 2:55 PM), the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is still deliberating the fate of Kenneth Foster, Jr.

According to Keith Hampton, Foster’s lawyer, “We need four board members to be in favor of clemency in order for them to make the recommendation to the Governor. Then it is at the Governor's discretion whether to commute his sentence.”

My telephone interview with Keith Hampton was cut short when a call came in from Kenneth Foster, Sr., father of the condemned young man.

As a human rights advocate and a man of faith, I ask for your 11th Hour prayer for the life of Kenneth Foster, Jr., a young man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people.

Lord, have mercy on his soul and the soul of this nation.


Adam Axel (732) 796-5230
Dana Cloud (512) 731-1025
Keith Hampton (Foster’s lawyer) (512)-762-6170

Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu Announce Support For Kenneth Foster

August 27, 2007

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu Signs Amicus Brief
Supporting Kenneth Foster’s Supreme Court Petition;
President Jimmy Carter Asks Governor Perry to Spare Foster’s Life

Yesterday a Brief of Amicus Curiae on behalf of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu was filed at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a Petition of Certiorari filed by Kenneth Foster’s criminal attorney Keith Hampton.

The Supreme Court is now poised to decide on Hampton’s cert petition for Foster on Wednesday, August 29. Hampton has basically asked the Court to intervene and fix the irreversible mistakes the lower courts have made in this case. Hampton’s petition argues that the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) wrongly decided that Kenneth is death eligible when it dismissed the writ petition Hampton filed in the CCA at court on August 7 and asks the Supreme Court to invoke its own original jurisdiction and exercise its supervisory powers over the lower courts.

“The Archbishop’s support sends a very clear and strong signal to the Court and it’s incredible that someone with such international regard and moral authority has come forward for Kenneth,” Hampton commented. “I’m very encouraged.”

President Jimmy Carter also came out yesterday in support of Foster. He wrote a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry asking Perry to spare Foster’s life.

Foster’s legal team and supporters hope that the support of such credible world leaders will influence the Governor and help win the four votes needed on the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the majority of the Supreme Court in Foster’s favor.

The Save Kenneth Foster Campaign, along with Foster’s legal team and thousands of people around the world, has petitioned the Governor and Board of Pardons and Paroles for clemency. The case has received considerable local, regional, and national media attention and public support for Foster has been pronounced.

Kenneth has been on Texas’ death row since 1997 for the shooting death of Michael LaHood, Jr. Foster did not shoot the gun that ended LaHood’s life, but was driving the car carrying the actual triggerman, Mauriceo Brown.

Foster was convicted and sentenced to death under the Law of Parties, which allows the state to seek convictions for those present at the scene of a crime as if they had committed it. Since Foster’s original trial, the other men in the car that night have testified that Foster had no idea LaHood would be shot.

If no relief is forthcoming from the state or the Court, Foster faces execution on August 30.

Former Bexar County District Attorney Letter in Support of Kenneth Foster

Source: "Adam Axel"
Subject: Sam Millsap Letter in Support of Kenneth Foster

August 27, 2007

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
P. O. Box 13401
Austin, Texas 78711-3401

RE: Kenneth Foster

To the Honorable Members of the Board:

I am writing to urge you to recommend clemency in the Kenneth Foster case. I am no wild-eyed, pointy-headed liberal. I am the former elected Bexar County District Attorney (1983-1987); I am responsible for the prosecution of more than a few death penalty cases all of which produced convictions and executions.

Because you have been buried with letters from throughout the world, I will not rehash the facts and legal problems with the case in this letter; they are obvious. There is nothing I can say about the legal issues or evidence that you have not already heard ad nauseam.

Fortunately, I was no longer the Bexar County District Attorney when this horrible crime was committed. Had I been, there is every likelihood that I would have decided to seek the death penalty against Foster because I could have done so--and that would have been a mistake. With the benefit of 20 additional years of life experience, I now believe that no useful purpose is served and it is morally wrong to execute a person based on nothing more than the law of parties.

Is there no limit to our lust in this state for retribution? How many people must we execute for this crime before justice is served? Having already executed the shooter, what benefit results from the execution of someone who was simply nearby and had no idea that a murder would be committed? As the civilized world watches in amazement that a single American state has executed 400 people in the last 25 years, what does it say about us? if we're willing to execute someone who was in the car when this horrible crime was committed? Surely, there is a limit to what we are capable of in this state.

There are tough cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case. If we can't say no to execution in a case like the Kenneth Foster case, there is no practical limit to our thirst for vengeance. I urge you to recommend that the Governor grant clemency in this case.

Sincerely yours,

Sam D. Millsap, Jr.

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