Kim Musheno, musheno at thearc.org, writes:
A man with mental retardation is scheduled to be executed in Texas tonight at 6 p.m. Below is The Arc's statement on the execution. If you want to make your own statement, the fax number for Gov. Bush is 512-463-5518. The phone number is 512-463-5518. To contact the media in your area, consult The Arc's Guide to the Media in the Action Center: http://congress.nw.dc.us/thearc/
NEWS RELEASE Contact: Chris Privett/Kim Musheno 301-565-5454/202-785-3388 privett at thearc.org/musheno at thearc.org
THE ARC CALLS ON GEORGE W. BUSH TO GRANT STAY OF EXECUTION FOR TEXAS MAN
AUGUST 8, 2000, SILVER SPRING, MD - The Arc of the United States, the nations largest volunteer-based organization devoted to issues affecting people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities, is calling on Texas Governor George W. Bush to halt the scheduled execution of Oliver Cruz.
Cruz, 33, is scheduled to die on Wednesday, August 9, for his part in the abduction, rape, and murder of 24-year-old Kelly Elizabeth Donovan in 1988.
Cruzs alleged partner in the crime, who does not have mental retardation, was sentenced to 65 years in prison with the possibility for parole.
At his trial, medical experts classified Cruz as having mental retardation. The Arc, in a formal Position Statement revised and adopted in 1998, opposes the death penalty for people with mental retardation. The Position Statement reads:
Existing case-by-case determinations of competence to stand trial, criminal
responsibility and mitigating factors at sentencing have proved insufficient to protect the rights of individuals with mental retardation. The presence of mental retardation by definition raises so many possibilities of miscommunication,
misinformation, and an inadequate defense that the imposition of the death
penalty is unacceptable. People with mental retardation shall be exempt from the death penalty, but not from other appropriate punishment, on a case-by-case basis.
President of The Arc Brenda Doss said, The Arc of the United States urges Governor Bush in the strongest possible terms to put a stop to this execution so that a more just sentence may be passed on Oliver Cruz. A jury has found Cruz guilty and he must repay society for his crimes, but in the case of a defendant with mental retardation, the death penalty is not a reasonable sentence. Governor Bush has pledged his compassion for people with disabilities and we are hopeful that he will do what is right and just in the case of Oliver Cruz.
The Arc of the United States was founded in 1950 and is the nations largest
volunteer organization solely devoted to improving the lives of people who have mental retardation and fostering prevention of the condition.
Kim Musheno musheno at thearc.org http://www.thearc.org
-- Marta Russell author Los Angeles, CA Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract http://www.commoncouragepress.com/russell_ramps.html