Monday, 26 March 2007
FREDDIE PITTS AND SUEZANN BOSLER TO SPEAK AT
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL FLORIDA STATE MEETING APRIL 7
Just received exciting news that there will be TWO "Co-Keynote" speakers at the Amnesty International USA Florida State Meeting in Boca Raton...Freddie Pitts and SueZann Bosler.
They are both excellent!
The Amnesty International Florida State Meeting will be held at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, on Saturday, April 7, from 9:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
This is FREE but you must pre-register by April 2. You can register on-line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In my capacity as State Death Penalty Abolitionist for Amnesty International, I will be helping with a workshop on Death Penalty Abolition.
Death Penalty Abolition will be featured prominently at the conference. There will be many choices for other workshops -- Darfur, torture and the "War on Terror", LGBT rights, refugees, Amnesty basics, art and activism, event planning and social networking, and child labor. Something for everyone.
Florida Conviction: 1963, Pardoned: 1975
Although no physical evidence linked them to the deaths of two white men, Lee and Pitts' guilty pleas, the testimony of an alleged eyewitness, and incompetent defense counsel led to their convictions. The men were sentenced to death but maintained their innocence. After their convictions, another man confessed to the crime, the eyewitness recanted her accusations, and the state Attorney General admitted that the state had unlawfully suppressed evidence. The men were granted a new trial (Pitts v. State 247 So.2d 53 (Fla. 1971)) but were again convicted and sentenced to death. They were released in 1975 when they received a full pardon from Governor Askew, who stated he was "sufficiently convinced that they were innocent." (Florida Times-Union, 4/23/98).
Cofounder & Board Member
JOURNEY OF HOPE…
from Violence to Healing
"My father's favorite hymn was 'Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let it Begin With Me.! Those of us who work against the death penalty are working for peace."
On December 22, 1986, SueZann Bosler and her father, Rev. Billy Bosler, were attacked in the church parsonage by an intruder. Rev. Bosler was stabbed 24 times. SueZann, in an effort to help him, was herself stabbed in the back and head and left for dead. While lying on the floor pretending to be dead, she heard the intruder ransack the house as she watched her father take his last breath.
As a Brethren minister, Rev. Bosler had been an opponent of capital punishment, and had once told SueZann that if he was ever murdered he would not want his killer to receive the death penalty. On her father's behalf, SueZann worked for 10 1/2 years to spare the life of his murderer, James Bernard Campbell. She voiced her opposition to the death penalty throughout three trials and two sentencings. Her efforts put her at stark odds with Florida prosecutors and judges, who at one point threatened her with contempt of court if she revealed her views to the jury considering Campbell's fate.
SueZann devoted many years to seeking commutation of Campbell's death sentence. On June 13, 1996, her efforts were successful and his sentence was commuted to three consecutive life terms. "Being able to point to him at that moment, and express my forgiveness, was like having a weight lifted from my shoulders," she recalls.