Thursday, 30 August 2007

Movement to Save Kenneth Foster Wins Historic Victory


CONTACT: Dana Cloud 512-731-1025
Keith Hampton (Kenneth’s Lawyer) 512-762-6170
Bryan McCann 309-310-5223

August 30, 2007

Movement to Save Kenneth Foster Wins Historic Victory

Family members and supporters of Kenneth Foster, Jr. are jubilant in the
reaction to Texas Governor Rick Perry's today's announcement today that he
would commute the death sentence of Kenneth Foster, who was convicted under
the controversial "Law of Parties" for a 1996 murder in which he had no
actual involvement. The Board of Pardons and Paroles had recommened clemency
by a vote of 6-1. Foster's execution had been scheduled for tonight.

In a statement announcing the commutation, Perry said, "I am concerned about
Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously
and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine."

Reaction among Foster's family and friends included both joy and disbelief.
“We felt a bit of disbelief because Perry’s decision was so unprecedented.”
said Dana Cloud of the Save Kenneth Foster campaign. “But everyone is so
happy that Kenneth will be able to touch his wife and daughter and that we
have a chance of seeing him free. Anything is possible when you are alive.”

Claire Dube, a close high-school friend of Kenneth’s and an active member of
the Save Kenneth Foster Campaign, broke into tears when she heard the news.
“We don’t even know what to say. It’s incredible.”

Keith Hampton, Foster’s attorney, also expressed relief and happiness at
winning his client’s life. Hampton thanked the activists of the grassroots
movement that started in Austin and spread around the world for putting the
necessary pressure on the Board and the Governor to win. “Extra-legal means
work,” he said.

“Governor Perry once said that there was no hue and cry against the death
penalty in Texas,” commented Lily Hughes of the Campaign to End the Death
Penalty. “Well, here was your hue and cry.”

Foster’s family and other supporters will continue to work to free him from
prison. “It seems like ten years on death row under 23-hour lockdown could
amount to time served for any crime that Kenneth ever committed,” Cloud

Perry’s decision is historic. Not only has the Board of Pardons and Paroles
rarely recommended clemency (by one count, 3 times since 1982), but Rick
Perry has overseen more executions than any Governor of the State of Texas,
including George Bush.

“This case demonstrated to the world just how arbitrary and capricious
capital punishment is,” Cloud said. “It gives people pause when someone who
killed no one could come this close to being executed.”

“Public sentiment has been turning against capital punishment,” Hughes said.
“We’ve seen a lot of states stop executing people. Winning Kenneth’s life
might be a real turning point in the history of the death penalty in Texas.”

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