EXTRA 61/91: USA (Louisiana): death penalty: Antonio James
Note to UA Coordinators:
The following information is being telexed/faxed/e-mailed to UA coordinators
for reasons of speed.
Please treat this as a priority UA, if possible.
EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 51/36/91
9 September 1991
EXTRA 61/91 Death Penalty
USA (Louisiana): Antonio James, aged 36
Antonio James is scheduled to be executed in Louisiana on 19 September 1991.
Mr James, black, now aged 36, was sentenced to death in 1981 for the murder
of a white male during a robbery in 1979. According to reports, a co-defendant
received a sentence of five years' probation in exchange for his testimony
against Mr James.
Recent tests suggest that Mr James is mentally retarded with an IQ of
approximately 60 (a person of average intelligence scores an IQ of 100). It
is reported that Mr James suffered a disturbed childhood and was physically
abused by his father. Mr James was illiterate when he left school, and learned
to read and write on death row.
As of 24 April 1991 there were 34 prisoners under sentence of death in
Louisiana. The most recent person to be executed in the state was Andrew Lee
Jones on 22 July 1991. The method of execution in Louisiana was changed from
electrocution to lethal injection on 1 January 1991. After 15 September 1991
prisoners will be executed by lethal injection. Thus, Antonio James may become
the first person to be executed in the state by lethal injection.
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 Rights.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/telephone calls:
Appeals to Governor Roemer:
- Urging Governor Roemer to grant clemency to Antonio James and commute his
sentence of death.
Appeals to the Board of Pardons and Paroles:
- Urging the Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend that the Governor grant
clemency to Antonio James.
Appeals to both:
- Expressing concern that recent tests suggest Mr James is mentally retarded.
The Honourable Buddy Roemer
Governor of Louisiana
[Salutation: Dear Governor]
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Telegrams: Governor Roemer, Baton Rouge,
Louisiana 70804, USA
Telexes: 0255 10993 3256
Faxes: +(504) 342 0909
Telephone: +(504) 342 7015
Louisiana Board of Pardons and Paroles
504 Mayflower Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Telegrams: Louisiana Pardons Board, Baton Rouge,
Louisiana 70802, USA
Faxes: +(504) 342 6593
Telephone: +(504) 342 5421
Diplomatic representatives of the USA in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY, TO ARRIVE BY 18 SEPTEMBER 1991.