Further information on EXTRA 36/93 (AMR 51/33/93, 15 April; and follow-up AMR 51/35/93, 16 April) - USA (Texas): death penalty: Leonel Herrera
Leonel Herrera was executed in Texas on 12 May 1993, after being convicted of the murder of two police officers in 1982.
EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 51/40/93
12 May 1993
Further information on EXTRA 36/93 (AMR 51/33/93, 15 April 1993) and follow-up
AMR 51/35/93, 16 April 1993 - Death Penalty
USA (Texas): Leonel Herrera
Leonel Herrera was executed in Texas on 12 May 1993; he was pronounced dead
at 4.49 am local time.
It has been reported that just before being executed he said "I am innocent,
innocent, innocent, and make no mistake about this. I owe society nothing and
would like to encourage all those who stood by me to continue the struggle
for those who are innocent, especially Mr [Gary] Graham. Something very wrong
is taking place here. God bless you all". (Gary Graham is a juvenile offender
due to be executed on 3 June 1993 in Texas, see UA 77/93, AMR 51/22/93 of 19
March 1993 and follow-ups AMR 51/29/93 of 7 April 1993, AMR 51/37/93 of 29
April 1993, AMR 51/38/93 of 6 May 1993)
Leonel Herrera, convicted of the murder of two police officers in 1982, claimed
to be innocent of the murder. In 1992 his lawyers presented newly dicovered
evidence alleging his innocence. However, the US Supreme Court dismissed his
appeal in January 1993; it held that there was no constitutional right to relief
based on newly discovered evidence of actual innocence, when the defendant's
original trial had been free from procedural error.
The court also held that "Executive clemency has provided the `fail safe' in
our criminal justice system", and is the historic remedy for preventing
miscarriages of justice where judicial process has been exhausted". However,
since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970s, the Texas Board of Pardons
and Paroles has never recommended clemency in a capital case, despite strong
grounds being presented in a number of cases. Texas has also carried out more
executions than any other state in recent years.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and
airmail letters in English if possible:
- expressing deep regret that Leonel Herrera was executed on 12 May 1993;
- expressing concern that the execution was carried out without Leonel Herrera
having been given the opportunity to have the merits of his claim of innocence
examined by any court;
- expressing concern at the apparent reluctance of the authorities in Texas
to consider clemency even in cases where there have been compelling reasons
to do so.
Page 2 of 2FU EXTRA 36/93
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard, PO Box 13401
Austin, TX 78711-3401
Telegrams: Texas Board Pardons/Paroles, Austin, TX 78711, USA
Faxes: + 1 409 291 6852
Telephone: + 1 512 406 5852
Salutation: Dear Board Members
The Honorable Ann Richards
Governor of Texas
Office of the Governor
PO Box 12428, Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
Telegrams: Governor Richards, Austin, Texas 78711, USA
Faxes: + 1 512 463 1849
Telephone: + 1 512 463 2000
Salutation: Dear Governor
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: diplomatic representatives of the USA in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.