EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 51/21/94
UA 138/94 Death Penalty 7 April 1994
USA (Texas): Larry Anderson
Larry Anderson is scheduled to be executed on 26 April and Paul Rougeau on
3 May in Texas.
Larry Anderson, white, was sentenced to death in February 1983 for the murder
of Zelda Walker, a white female. An appeal for a stay of execution was dismissed
by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on 1 April 1994. The appeal claimed
that, among other things, Anderson's trial lawyer failed to present mitigating
evidence at the sentencing hearing about Anderson's disturbed mental state.
It further alleged that the same lawyer had frequently failed to represent
capital defendants adequately. This claim is supported by several affidavits
including one from a former prosecutor.
Paul Rougeau, black, was sentenced to death on 28 October 1983 for the murder
of a black male. According to information received by Amnesty International,
Paul Rougeau was tried and sentenced to death by an all-white jury.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as a violation
of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or
degrading punishment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human
Amnesty International has mounting concerns regarding the death penalty in
Texas. The state leads the U.S.A. in carrying out executions. Many prisoners
do not have legal representation to present their appeals and the state continues
to execute juvenile offenders, flouting international standards. A major study
on racial discrimination conducted in the 1970s found that, in Texas, offenders
who killed white victims were several times more likely to be sentenced to
death than white offenders who killed black victims.
Under Texas clemency rules, the governor may commute a sentence of death only
is she receives a favourable recommendation from a majority of the 18-member
Board of Pardons and Paroles. Amnesty International is concerned about the
reluctance of the Board to hold full clemency hearings in death penalty cases.
Apart from a number of commutations granted in the 1980s as the result of
two key court rulings, the Board has never recommended clemency in any death
penalty case in recent years.
As of 6 January 1994 there were 363 prisoners under sentence of death in Texas;
the second largest death row population in the USA. (California, the largest,
has 380). The most recent person to be executed in Texas was on 2 February
1994. The method of execution is lethal injection.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or in your own language:
To the Board of Pardons and Paroles:
- urging the Board to recommend that Governor Richards grant clemency to Larry