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UA 43/91 - USA: (Louisiana) death penalty: Andrew Lee Jones

, Index number: AMR 51/007/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 51/07/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 43/91 Death Penalty 7 February 1991
USA (Louisiana) : Andrew Lee JONES
Andrew Lee Jones, black, is scheduled to be executed in Louisiana on 25 February
1991. He was convicted of the murder of an 11-year-old black girl and sentenced
to death in November 1984. He was tried by an all-white jury in a county whose
population is approximately 40% black.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Andrew Jones is believed to be mentally retarded. He also suffers from
neurological brain damage resulting from several serious head injuries
sustained during his early life.
Andrew Jones was represented at trial by an inexperienced,
court-appointed lawyer, who failed to object to the prosecution's challenge
against all the black potential jurors. Although the US Supreme Court ruled
in Batson v. Kentucky in 1986 that it was unconstitutional to remove black
jurors from trial juries on account of their race, the courts held that no
violation had occurred in Andrew Jones' case because his lawyer had failed
to object at the time of the trial. The US Supreme Court refused to hear his
appeal in June 1989.
In January 1991 a new law came into effect in Louisiana changing the
method of execution in the state from electrocution to lethal injection. The
law was introduced to provide a more "humane" method of execution, but was
not made retroactive. This means that those prisoners who were sentenced to
death before 1 January 1991 must be executed by electrocution. In most states
where an alternative method of execution is introduced, prisoners are able
to choose between the old and the new methods.
As of 21 September 1990 there were 32 prisoners under sentence of death
in Louisiana, 17 of whom were black. The most recent person to be executed
in the state was Dalton Prejean on 18 May 1990.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- urging the governor to grant clemency to Andrew Lee Jones by commuting his
death sentence;
- reiterating your opposition to the death penalty, whatever method of execution
is used;
- expressing concern at evidence which suggests that Andrew Lee Jones' trial
jury was selected using racially discriminatory criteria;
- expressing concern that Andrew Lee Jones may be mentally retarded.
2
APPEALS TO:
The Hon. Charles Roemer
Governor of Louisiana
State Capitol
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
USA
Telegrams: Governor Roemer, Baton Rouge, LA 70804, USA
Telexes: 5109933256
Faxes: (504) 342 0909
Telephone: (504) 342 7015
Louisiana Board of Pardons and Paroles
PO Box 44142
Capitol Station
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
USA
Telegrams: Louisiana Pardons Board, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Faxes: (504) 342 6593
COPIES TO: Diplomatic representatives of the USA in your
country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 25 February 1991.

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