Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Letter to Governor Riley - 29 November 2007

29 November 2007

Governor Bob Riley

Dear Governor Riley,

This is my tenth letter to you. As yet, I haven’t received an answer from you, neither have, as far as I know, those who continue to write to you. I again invite you to answer me by email, if you should wish to do so. My offer remains open for you to either answer via email to justicefortommy@gmail.com or to post your answer as a comment on my blog at www.justicefortommy.blogspot.com.

As the date set for Thomas Arthur’s execution nears, which I still deem to be more a show of power than anything else, I was disappointed to read the letter you recently wrote to his daughter, Sherrie Stone, on 31 October 2007(link). In the letter you again mention the “overwhelming evidence”, as quoted before, yet you still have to define this term to a number of people that have taken the explanation thereof up with you in recent months.

Again the question: “Have you weighed it up against what has transpired in recent years, with new evidence being discovered and have you weighed it up against possible exculpatory DNA evidence regarding untested crime scene evidence?”

More questions:

1. Have you interviewed witnesses that have now recanted their testimonies?

2. Have you had a personal interview with Judy Wicker, whose testimony is and will remain in doubt?

3. Have you or your “staff”, being so “victim concerned” as you hold to be, interviewed the late Troy Wicker’s sister, who asked for DNA to be tested, so that she can have closure?

4. Have you questioned the fact that no items belonging to Judy Wicker or her sister, who were both found at the crime scene, have never been tested?

5. Have you interviewed the witnesses that placed Arthur miles away from the crime scene, as to why they recanted their affidavits, after “men with guns” from your “staff” visited them? Have you now given them an opportunity to give such affidavits without undue influence?

6. Have you questioned why a member of your “staff” mentioned that one of the officers at the crime scene had an affair with Judy Wicker and questioned whether this had bearing on the way the investigation was conducted?

7. Have you questioned why Judy Wicker only recanted her testimony after 10 years in prison and only after the prosecutor, who represented her before, “made a deal” with the Board of Paroles, resulting in her being freed, constituting a severe conflict of interest?

8. Have you questioned the fact that even the evidence found at the crime scene were doubtful, in that the bullet casings did not match, no weapon was found, no physical evidence pointed to Arthur, etc?

9. Have you investigated why witnesses now hold that they were coerced to lie in their testimony; “coerced” referring to the same tactic as the “men with guns” that visited new witnesses?

10. Have you ever questioned why the two “accomplices”, who Judy Wicker testifies to, were never questioned or charged?

And so the questions can pile up and one can spend the best of the day listing them here.

In your letter you mention that, “I and my staff have continued to review everything my office receives regarding your Father’s case”. Yet, you STILL have not answered the “overwhelming evidence” question, or ANY questions posed to you!!! Is this the “transparency” the Governor of Alabama likes to quote?

Analysts, scholars and laymen in your country and from all over the world, whether pro- or anti-death penalty, looked at Thomas Arthur’s case and came to a conclusion that, even at a first glance, something is wrong and that it warrants being looked into, to say the least. What makes them different from you and your staff? What are they seeing that you and our “staff” are not?

It is my view that the difference is merely that none of them has a political agenda. I cannot think of any other reason, can you?

Governor, the “overwhelming evidence” adage, in the face of so many “unanswered questions”, is really not cutting it and I think you are aware of it but choose to not admit it or do anything about it, otherwise you would, at least, have honored those who elected you and made sure the “everything” you mention in your letter would have been explained in a clear and concise way. In fact, why don’t you spell out what the “everything” is that you have reviewed and, whilst about it, list the “overwhelming evidence” you always quote? Or will this also, like your lethal injection protocol, remain an everlasting secret and never become “transparent”?

Governor, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa once said: “Secrecy and tax dollars don’t mix”. I pray the day comes when someone wakes up in Alabama and start asking how a Government that likes to quote the word “transparency” is spending their tax dollars in a “secret” environment. They will put two and two together and the rest, including the tenure of the “secret society” will be history.

Oh, what a joyful day it would be!

As always and in keeping with my quest and because my conscience demands it of me, I again end my letter by asking you, for the sake of decency, humanity, mercy and justice, to allow DNA testing to be done in Thomas Arthur’s case, to reveal to the citizens of Alabama the contents of the lethal injection protocol being used to execute condemned persons and to grant a stay for Thomas Arthur. Your Creator, who entrenches the right to life in Section 1 of your Constitution, demands it of you.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr. Thinus Coetzee PhD, D.C.Ed
justicefortommy@gmail.com

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Letter to Governor Riley - 22 November 2007

22 November 2007

Governor Bob Riley

Dear Governor Riley,

This is my ninth letter to you. I again invite you to answer me by email, if you should wish to do so. My offer remains open for you to either answer via email to justicefortommy@gmail.com or to post your answer as a comment on my blog at www.justicefortommy.blogspot.com.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in your country. Unfortunately we do not celebrate Thanksgiving in our country (only God and our “powers that be” knows why!!!). In fact, God’s Name has even been removed from our new Constitution, since its inception, following our country becoming a democracy in 1994. No wonder we have virtually the highest crime rate in the world!

Nevertheless, today I want to join you in celebrating Thanksgiving Day, as I have not only studied in your country, but also visit it on occasion and made quite a number of friends there. You are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful country.

Today I want to be thankful for a few things stemming from your neck of the woods.

These are:

1. The fact that your office made contact with the Innocence Project, requesting details on how to approach post-conviction DNA testing requests. I saw the letter Peter Neufeld wrote to your Bryan Taylor and my heart leapt within me! I am thankful that this request was done, Governor. It is a step in the right direction to ensure that condemned persons have ALL the opportunities possible, to prevent an innocent person from being executed. I look forward to seeing the next step being taken by your in this regard and I pray that it would be in the right direction…mandatory post-conviction DNA testing. You would certainly be the “man of the hour” if you did this in Alabama!!!

2. I am thankful that the majority of the United Nations members are endorsing a worldwide call for a moratorium on the death penalty. The death penalty has never fixed anything, Governor. In my view, “margin of error” might play a role in other facets of life, as one is given an opportunity then of revisiting the situation and do corrective actions but, when it comes to an execution, it can never play a role, as one cannot “right the wrong” once an innocent person is dead. In addition, the fact that one has to stoop to the level of a murderer and kill, in the name of justice, goes against my grain. In my view, incarcerating a murderer for the rest of his/her natural life is more than enough of a solution.

3. I am thankful that, as a result of the Justices’ decision in Baze vs Rees, all the persons on deathrow, especially Thomas Arthur, on whose behalf I am fighting for DNA testing, could also see the sun come up on Thanksgiving Day. I do not endorse what they MIGHT have done, Governor. It is deplorable in its entirety. I just do not see how one can hang all one’s clothes on one peg, by making the Biblical principle that “whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed” (Gen. 9:6) the only reason for executions by a country. God is a God of mercy, forgiveness and compassion and would not punish a potentially innocent person. Pity that man seeks its own righteousness and power in this practise, instead of establishing absolute guilt, before executing anyone.

4. I am thankful for the Justices’ decision to review the lethal injection method of execution in Baze vs Rees. For too long now have your countrymen executed people against their own standards in the 8th Amendment. In my view, if one makes a rule, you must be prepared to follow it, without any “margin of error”, otherwise abolish any practices associated with it. Although the Justices’ ultimate decision might not abolish the death penalty, I pray that at least it would ensure that hypocrisy in the application of the provisions of the 8th Amendment might be removed. I pray that in their decision the Justices would force each and every State to reveal the contents of their execution protocol and be transparent. In my view, by cloaking such protocol in secrecy, is tantamount to dishonesty and deceit. It is my view that, by revealing any method that could affect the lives of others, granting them an opportunity to comment and suggest changes, is the essence of unity, transparency and true democracy.

5. I am thankful for the Innocence Protection Act of 2004, regarding DNA testing and for Senator Patrick Leahy for his input in this. It is my view that this would ensure that potentially innocent person might not be incarcerated or executed. I pray that all States adopt its provisions as a matter of course.

6. In reference to the State of Alabama, I am thankful for your drive in the education field. You are so right that our children are our future and that education plays a major role in reform and the raising of our children in a godly way. I am also thankful that children might be wearing seatbelts on school busses in Alabama soon! Way to go, Governor!

7. Finally, I am thankful that Attorney General Troy King is doggedly pursuing sexual predators. I might not agree with many of the things he does or says and I might think that he is grandstanding and “feathering his own nest” more than anything else, but I certainly laud his efforts in his pursuit of sexual predators. Please convey my heartfelt thanks to him in this.

I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving. Enjoy the turkey and the trimmings!!! May Dixie have peace in its borders today.

As always and in keeping with my quest, I again end my letter by asking you, for the sake of decency, humanity, mercy and justice, to allow DNA testing to be done in Thomas Arthur’s case and to reveal to the citizens of Alabama the contents of the lethal injection protocol being used to execute condemned persons. Your Creator, who entrenches the right to life in Section 1 of your Constitution, demands it of you.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr. Thinus Coetzee PhD, D.C.Ed
justicefortommy@gmail.com

Friday, November 16, 2007

Letter to Governor Riley - 15 November 2007

15 November 2007

Governor Bob Riley

Dear Governor Riley,

This is my eighth letter to you. In previous letters, I invited you to answer me by email, if you should wish to do so. My offer remains open for you to either answer via email to justicefortommy@gmail.com or to post your answer as a comment on my blog at www.justicefortommy.blogspot.com. I doubt, however, that you would answer any of my letters.

Nevertheless, as also previously mentioned, I will keep on writing to you as my conscience compels me to do so. I cannot stand by idly, as many are doing, and watch injustice take place through inaction, grandstanding, grandiosity and greed for political power. I have seen this too much in various countries in past years and believe me; it never led to anything. Those guilty of this are evidently forgotten and their legacies scorned for ages to come.

In my previous letter I wrote to you regarding your lethal injection protocol. Can you now reveal it to your citizens, in order to prove that it is free of faults and failings and will not contravene the stipulations of the 8th amendment? In my view, I think it would be difficult for you to do so, as history shows that your and other State’s protocols were “borrowed” from the original experiment/protocol in Colorado in 1977 and that insufficient research was done by your State before you adopted your lethal injection protocol.

On the topic of research; what research did you do before you recently changed the protocol? Can you reveal this research to your citizens? Whilst on this topic and as mentioned in my previous letter, how will you ensure that a condemned inmate is unconscious when the pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride have entered his body, seeing as he would be paralyzed and would not respond to “pinching”, “sweeping of the eyelids” and “calling of his name”?

I recently read a study done by Seema Shah of your Department of Bioethics, entitled: “HOW LETHAL INJECTION REFORM CONSTITUTES IMPERMISSIBLE RESEARCH ON PRISONERS”. I will be posting this on my weblog (link) and will also ask Thomas Arthur’s daughter to post it on her website at www.thomasarthurfightforlife.com.

I would like to post a few excerpts from this report:

“This essay exposes how recent attempts at lethal injection reform have involved unethical and illegal research on prisoners. States are varying the doses and types of drugs used, developing methods designed for non-medical professionals to administer medical procedures, and gathering data or made provision for the gathering of data to learn from executions gone wrong. When individual prisoners are executed under these conditions, states are conducting research on them. Conducting research or experimentation on prisoners in the process of reform is problematic because it violates ethical frameworks and state laws.”

And that is just the first paragraph…

Shah goes further to say:

“Yet in the extensive litigation and debate over lethal injection, one important issue has been entirely neglected: attempts to reform lethal injection necessarily require states to experiment with different procedures and revise their lethal injection protocols, and thereby to conduct research on prisoners. The process of revision and reform therefore comes into conflict with regulations or policies governing research on prisoners, with which states must comply. Thus, attempts to develop appropriate lethal injection protocols in a manner that constitutes experimentation on prisoners could require the use of many prisoners as test subjects, in violation of state policies, regulations, and ethical precepts. Furthermore, this conflict may ultimately be irresolvable.”

“Research “refers to a class of activities designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.”56 By contrast, medical practice involves “a class of activities designed solely to enhance the well-being of an individual patient or client.”57 The critical distinction here is that standard medical practice typically requires a reasonable expectation of success and is aimed at improving the health of one particular patient, whereas research is aimed at developing knowledge that can be used to benefit society.”

“Thus, the changes in the protocol are designed to create procedures that can work for the lethal injection process as it is applied to future inmates and in accord with the law. In other words, the protocol is designed as an attempt to codify generalizable knowledge about the lethal injection process that can make the process effective and legal for all inmates who undergo it. Yet the method by which this reform is occurring offers no guarantee of success and relies on untested elements that may or may not work.”

“Proponents of lethal injection may argue that lethal injection should not be thought of as research, but rather as punishment. This distinction, however, ignores the fact that the arguments above relate to the process of reform of lethal injection, and not to the practice of lethal injection. Arguably, the administration of lethal injection prior to the attempts to reform the procedure would not be considered research. It is the changes described herein, such as alteration of dosages and data-gathering, that lead to the implication that Departments of Corrections are conducting research on prisoners.”

“Another objection may be that since doctors are not ethically permitted to perform lethal injection (or euthanasia in the United States), such an activity cannot be medical in the views of doctors themselves. This argument is flawed for at least three reasons. First, with regard to statutory interpretation, the relevant definitions of research are included in the statute, and what physicians might think is irrelevant. Second, lethal injection is a medical procedure, and physicians’ objections to lethal injection do not turn on whether the procedure is medical or not—they rely on the fact that, in these cases, a medical procedure is being employed to do harm. Third, as previously discussed, much of the debate about lethal injection has centered on the ability of a non-medical professional to perform a medical procedure in the absence of medical training. In fact, one of the seminal problems with the current administration of lethal injection is that the procedure is a medical one, but that the professional organizations governing the people with the relevant training have ethical qualms about their participation.”

In short, what Shah is saying, Governor, is that “when such a lethal injection protocol is changed, use thereof thereafter would be tantamount to “research” i.e. by using it thereafter you would be “experimenting” to see if it would work or not.

In other words, as Thomas Arthur is slated to be the first person to be executed under your revised protocol on 6 December 2007, which was “borrowed” from the start, he would merely be a “guinea pig” to see if the new protocol would work or not. After all, you would need to execute someone in this way to see if it would work or not, not so Governor? There is NO other way to say that it would work or not. You would have to “experiment” now, don’t you?

Reading the full report will open this up in a more comprehensive way.

I can understand that one could possibly do such “research” on someone who “volunteers” to be executed, as many do, but here we are dealing with a person, Thomas Arthur, whose case has many gray areas and who maintains his innocence and is begging for the opportunity to prove it by having DNA tested and presenting new evidence applicable thereto, but who is being denied it.

We live in a very sick world if this is going to be the case, Governor.

Lastly, as you have the power to change all this, I want to ask one vital question: “Why are you not doing so, Governor?”

Allow me to ask one more: “Why don’t you stand up and create a situation where generations hereafter can respect you, instead of seeing you as the tabloids are seeing your Attorney General, Troy King, where one says (The Huntsville Times 23 September 2007):

“Taken individually, none of this - except perhaps for the incidents involving the two-year college system - may rise to a level beyond a momentary lapse of reason or a slippery grasp of propriety. But taken as a whole, it casts a serious shadow over King's judgment and raises questions about his ability to represent the state's citizens. His subsequent decisions will certainly be watched closely. And because of his actions so far, the attorney general won't be getting the benefit of the doubt if there is a next time.”

In our country, during the 90’s, one man stood up and said “ENOUGH!” to segregation; Past President F.W. de Klerk. He ended a vile practise and suffered the scorn of his fellow countrymen who stood for “apartheid” but ultimately ensured that we could today live in a peaceful and democratic country. For this he was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was a man true to his convictions. He did the right thing. He did it for us, the people.

Today I ask you to be a man and to do the right thing, Governor. You might also suffer scorn in the short term but ultimately generation after generation will see you as the man who stood for justice and was true to his convictions. Do it for the people, Governor. They deserve to live in an environment of transparency, justice and peace, knowing that you are a leader worthy of his word.

I end my letter by AGAIN asking you, for the sake of decency, humanity, mercy and justice, to allow DNA testing to be done in Arthur’s case and to reveal to the citizens of Alabama the contents of the lethal injection protocol being used to execute condemned persons. Your Creator, who entrenches the right to life in Section 1 of your Constitution, demands it of you.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr. Thinus Coetzee
justicefortommy@gmail.com

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Letter to Governor Riley - 1 November 2007

1 November 2007

Governor Bob Riley

Dear Governor Riley,

This is my seventh letter to you. In previous letters, I invited you to answer me by email, if you should wish to do so. My offer remains open for you to either answer via email to justicefortommy@gmail.com or to post your answer as a comment on my blog at www.justicefortommy.blogspot.com.

It is true what they say: “Bad news usually follows close on the heels of good news”; good news in the sense that the US Supreme Court stayed the execution of Earl Wesley Berry of Mississippi and bad news because the Alabama Supreme Court ordered the execution date of Thomas Arthur for 6 December 2007.

However, with the trend, as things are developing now, I remain confident that his imminent execution will be stayed until the US Supreme Court has ruled on Baze vs Rees.

I’m sure you have noticed these new developments, some of which are:

1. The Supreme Court of Ohio agreeing that Common Pleas Judge James Burge, a trial judge, will be allowed to consider the constitutionality of lethal injection before a capital punishment trial has even started. Imagine that!!! History in the making!!!

2. Judge Lynn O'Malley Taylor of Marlin County in California issuing an injunction Wednesday that bars California from using a new plan to execute condemned inmates by lethal injection.

3. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, en banc, agreeing sua sponte to stay Siebert’s execution right there in Alabama, even after setting aside the original order and not giving a date for the en banc hearing.

4. District Attorney Henry Garza of Texas, the top execution State in the USA, saying that the district will fall in line with other districts across the country, moving into a holding pattern for its capital punishment method. He also asked a judge to cancel a Jan. 24 date for Bobby Woods.

5. Nueces County Prosecutor Carlos Valdez in Corpus Christi deciding not to seek any more execution dates until the Baze vs Rees matter has been resolved.

6. District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal of the Harris County District Attorney's Office saying Wednesday that his office will place some of its capital cases on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the lethal injection process next year.

7. Roe Wilson, an assistant DA who handles appellate matters in capital cases, saying that she will ask that an upcoming execution date for Derrick Sonnier, scheduled to die Feb. 26, be withdrawn.

8. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins saying that his office will ask to withdraw the execution date of Feb. 21 for Karl Chamberlain of Dallas.

And so the list grows daily. In short, it is evident that the execution chamber will be shutting down until a decision in Baze vs Rees has been reached.

I suppose the “die hards”, whether political or judicial, will sooner or later have to realize that this is a trend indicating that an unofficial moratorium is being established, not so? Let’s face it; it is the best thing that could have happened since apple pie, as the whole system of conflicting decisions, lack of transparency, secretiveness, indecision, doubt, etc., could possibly be addressed by the US Supreme Court, once and for all.

Speaking of “transparency”, a factor high on your agenda, I believe.

Seeing as you are an ardent advocate of “transparency” and taking this from the Honorable Judge James Burge of Ohio, can you please be “transparent” and provide the following information to Thomas Arthur, as to your execution protocol in Alabama:

1. A detailed list of all equipment and supplies used in the lethal injection process.

2. Specifications and maintenance procedures for all equipment and supplies.

3. Specifications on the set-up of the intravenous bag of fluids, drip chambers, flow regulators, IV tubing and injection port.

4. Specifications, plans and procedures used when intravenous access cannot be obtained through an arm or a leg.

5. The physical design, layout and dimensions (including any blueprints or diagrams) of the execution chamber and surrounding areas used in the lethal injection process.

6. Specifications and maintenance procedures for how the drugs used in the lethal injection process are acquired, stored, maintained, along with an examination of their shelf life and expiration dates, and how they are prepared for administration.

7. An exhaustive and detailed list setting forth the qualifications, certifications, training, experience and background of all people who participate in any way in the preparation and carrying out of the lethal injection process.

8. A detailed and descriptive list of the new changes to the protocol, taking into account and revealing any research done that indicates such changes satisfying the provisions of the 8th Amendment, as being structured in such a way as to ensure that the provisions of the 8th Amendment have been met and which will ensure that a person will not suffer pain and agony after such changes have been instituted.

9. The procedure that is intended to be followed to resuscitate a condemned person, once the first and/or second and/or third chemical injections have been delivered, should a stay be ordered. This to include the qualifications, certifications, training, experience and background of all people who would then participate in such resuscitation, as well as the equipment to be used during such resuscitation, in which way it will be used and for how long it will be used before resuscitation will be abandoned as not being viable.

10. The procedure that is intended to be followed to ensure that there is continuous testing whether a condemned person is fully sedated throughout the procedure, what method and equipment would be used to determine this, in which way would it be used, for how long will it be used and at which point will it stop being used. This to include the qualifications, certifications, training, experience and background of all people who would then participate in such testing.

11. The procedure that is intended to be followed should the first drug, which is intended to sedate the condemned person, suddenly wears off, without a person designated to test for sedation, noticing, whilst the person(s) doing such testing, after having ascertained him/herself that the condemned person is sedated, signals for the successive drugs to be administered.

Governor, if you say that nothing is wrong with the protocol, that the administration thereof is in a humane fashion and that it is properly executed, then you wouldn’t be afraid to give the above information now, would you?

Having said all that, I AGAIN ask you, for the sake of decency, humanity, mercy and justice, to allow DNA testing to be done in Arthur’s case and to reveal to the citizens of Alabama the contents of the lethal injection protocol being used to execute condemned persons. Your Creator, who entrenches the right to life in Section 1 of your Constitution, demands it of you.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr. Thinus Coetzee
justicefortommy@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Letter to Governor Riley - 30 October 2007

30 October 2007

Governor Bob Riley

Dear Governor Riley,

This is my sixth letter to you. In my last letter, I invited you to answer me by email, if you should wish to do so. My offer remains open for you to either answer via email to justicefortommy@gmail.com or to post your answer as a comment on my blog at www.justicefortommy.blogspot.com.

During September 2006, at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, President George Bush said:

“Thanks for coming. It is a joy to be back in Alabama. And I appreciate your warm welcome. I am proud to stand with one of the nation's finest governors, and ask for your help in reelecting Bob Riley as Governor of Alabama. He deserves to be reelected because he's got a record he can run on. He has made you proud. He LISTENS to the people. He shares your values for the good of Alabama and for the good of all citizens, regardless of their political party. Bob Riley needs to be reelected as your governor.” (emphasis added)

A few questions arise from this:

Why are you not “listening” to Sherrie Stone, Arthur’s daughter, in granting her the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting with you?

Why would such a meeting “not be necessary”, as advised by your assistant?

Why are you denying Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project a meeting?

Why are you not “listening” to Peggy Wicker Jones, as a victim whose rights you say you prioritize, in requesting you to have the DNA in Arthur’s case tested?

Is this “listening to the people” or did President Bush make a mistake when he said this?

In “sharing the values for the good of Alabama and for the good of all citizens”, why are you not paying heed to the majority of Alabamians in their opinion that “the death penalty system in Alabama is flawed” and that “innocent persons could possibly be executed”?

In “sharing the values for the good of Alabama and for the good of all citizens”, why is the lethal injection protocol not open for all Alabamians to inspect or comment on?

In “sharing the values for the good of Alabama and for the good of all citizens”, why, in the face of investigations into the death penalty in Alabama indicating flaws, are you not ordering a moratorium, until a proper review can be undertaken?

Troy King made the following statements during October 2007 (Alabama Voices: DAs wrong on law - 19 October 2007) (emphasis added):

“Whether 30 DAs or 42 DAs call for me to do so, I will never turn my back on Alabama's VICTIMS”

“I take my stand with the law and with the VICTIMS of crime. Together, we say that there is still right and there is still wrong. And we make no apology for it.”


“I have been proud to enforce the law and honor VICTIMS by personally making the sentencing arguments and winning justice for them.”

“It is time to mean what we say, and what we must say is: No more. No more standing with criminals. No more excusing criminal conduct. No more coddling criminals. No more standing against VICTIMS.”

He further said on 29 October 2007 (WTVYNEWS24) (emphasis added):

"It is not time to study the death penalty, it is time to be about the business of doing justice. The American Bar Association ought to be ashamed for siding with criminals over VICTIMS and law abiding citizens."

Now, as AG Troy King is so concerned about the rights of victims (which he should be), I want to ask the following questions of him:

“Mr. King, why are you then not listening to the VICTIM'S FAMILY in the Troy Wicker murder case, where Peggy Wicker Jones is asking of you to give her closure and peace of mind, by having the DNA in the case tested? Are you “honoring” Troy, as a VICTIM, by denying this request? Are you standing “with” or “against” her in denying her this request? Are you “facing” her or are you “turning your back” on her in denying her this request?”

Governor, on November 19, 1863, at Gettysburg, the great Abraham Lincoln said:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, in January 1830, said:

"This government, Sir, is the independent offspring of the popular will. It is not the creature of State legislatures; nay, more, if the whole truth must be told, the people brought it into existence, established it, and have hitherto supported it, for the very purpose, amongst others, of imposing certain salutary restraints on State sovereignties."

In his reply to Senator Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina, he described the federal government as: "made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people."

Governor Riley, Attorney General King, your words and eloquent speeches might be in accord with the fine words of these great statesmen, but your actions belie it. Grandiosity and grandstanding might attract votes, but it detracts from the true purpose of a leader…to be transparent and, at all times, remain answerable to the people who put the leader in this position.

Having said all that, I AGAIN ask you, for the sake of decency, humanity, mercy and justice, to allow DNA testing to be done in Arthur’s case and to stand by your undertakings to be for the rights of VICTIMS, by granting the request of Peggy Wicker Jones. Your Creator, who entrenches the right to life in Section 1 of your Constitution, demands it of you.

Yours Faithfully,


Dr. Thinus Coetzee
justicefortommy@gmail.com

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Letter to 11th Circuit Court of Appeals - 25 October 2007

25 October 2007

Honorable Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat
Honorable Judge Rosemary Barkett
Honorable Judge Charles R. Wilson

United States Court of Appeals – 11th Circuit


Your Honors,

I am writing to you from South Africa, in order to personally thank you for your decision in Siebert vs Allen, issued on 24 October 2007.

I especially want to thank you for seeing the motive behind the US Supreme Court’s decision in Baze vs Rees in granting certiorari, convincing you to stay the execution of Siebert. I think I join the wide world out there in thanking you for waiting for an outcome as to the constitutionality of execution by lethal injection.

It is wonderful to see that there are still those out there that will not be swayed by party politics and personal agendas but that can still acknowledge, in the words of Judge Tjoflat, “that the balance of the equities dictates that a State’s interest in timely enforcement of a death sentence must yield to further consideration of the merits that the three-drug protocol, as applied, would violate constitutional rights.”

The task ahead for you will not be easy but I take heart that the right decisions will ultimately be made in your country, as we were faced to make in the revision of our own death penalty in South Africa during 1995. The outcome in our country, to abolish the death penalty as being cruel and not superceding the right to life, did not favor everybody but, in essence, we deemed it to have been the right thing to do.

Thank you for doing the right thing in the present case. I pray that you be strengthened in your resolve in other similar cases in the time ahead.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Thinus Coetzee
www.justicefortommy.blogspot.com
justicefortommy@gmail.com

Letter to Governor Riley - 25 October 2007

25 October 2007

Governor Bob Riley

Dear Governor Riley,

This is my fifth letter to you. I would be dishonest if I said that I wasn’t elated, close to midnight last night, when the news came through that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals used Baze vs Rees as the basis on which to order a stay in the Daniel Lee Siebert matter.

Not that I condone what Siebert did and confessed to and should be punished for. I am just plain and downright against any form of punishment that involves dubious measures, like your lethal injection method, which can be questioned as to its effectiveness and application. Isn’t this what Baze vs Rees is about and which the 11th Circuit has now joined? Let’s face it; the trend seems to continue to have a moratorium in place until the US Supreme Court rules in this instance.

Are they right in doing this? Oh Yes, they are. Why? Because there is so much controversy between the various States, regarding the lethal injection method of execution. It is just a shame that grown people cannot find a method of agreement, other than the highest court in the US and that politics, power plays and grandstanding are paramount in many government circles.

Referring to the above, I can agree with you in a quote you gave a while back:

“God looked down on this country because this country was founded on the rock and that rock was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And when the storms came and the rains came, the rock, it did not move. But over the last 15 or 20 years, something began to erode.”

I think the erosion you are talking about is man’s selfishness, self-centeredness and lust for power. Every day the tabloids shout it out, so much so that we even hear it here in South Africa!!!

You gave a perfect solution in one of your quotes:

“I ask you: turn a deaf ear to the special interests. Let politics stand down for a while. Don't waste anytime thinking about future elections until we've done our jobs here.”

I think this is also the solution regarding the ever-present debate concerning the death penalty and the application of execution methods. Let politics and self-interest stand down and work together until a common solution applicable to ALL States, are found. Would you agree, Governor?

As you said:

“It's time to take action - to put into practice a new approach that focuses on results and measurable improvements.”

Today I ask you to heed and be true to your own words:

“One person can make a difference. In fact, it's not only possible for one person to make a difference, it's essential that one person makes a difference. And believe it or not, that person is you.”

I’m asking you to “make a difference”, Governor; a difference in the sense that you will move past the power plays in Alabama and finally ensure transparency, justice and honesty. I ask you to declare a moratorium until a workable solution to the death penalty is found in Alabama.

I am aware that the majority of your citizens support the death penalty but they also support a moratorium, based on various issues such as facts that innocent people might be executed, that post-conviction DNA testing should be mandatory and that the whole issue of the death penalty is broken and needs to be revised.

Are you going to “make the difference”, as you say, Governor? Will that person be you?

Attached please also find a letter addressed to the judges who made the ruling in the Siebert matter. They deserve to be thanked.

In ending and as in all my letters, I AGAIN thus ask you, for the sake of decency, humanity, mercy and justice, to allow DNA testing to be done in Thomas Arthur’s case and to open up your death penalty lethal injection protocol for your citizens to inspect, in order to avail themselves of the opportunity to either join or refute your standing that it complies with the 8th Amendment. Your Creator, who entrenches the right to life in Section 1 of your Constitution, demands it of you.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr. Thinus Coetzee
justicefortommy@gmail.com