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This Man Killed No One: Action

chicago dyke's picture

Speaking of bloody justice, I got an email. Say it with me, kids: "predatory federal government." There's still time to act:

Even though Kenneth Foster killed no one, Texas plans to execute him.

Please call on the Governor and the Board of Pardons and Parole to spare Kennenth Fosters life.

Dear Texas member,

Thursday, the state of Texas plans to execute a man who it knows without a doubt did not commit murder. This is not justice--it's insanity. Newspapers all over the state agree that this would be a serious mistake and have called on the Governor and the Board of Pardons and Paroles to spare Kenneth Foster's life.

Can you take a few minutes to make two phone calls to do the same?

Please call the Governor at 512-463-2000 and the Pardons and Paroles Board at 512-406-5852 and ask them to spare Foster's life. Then email to let us know that you did.

On August 15, 1996, Maurecio Brown got out of Kenneth Foster's car and killed Michael LaHood. When the shots were fired, 19-year-old Foster was in the driver's seat, over 80 feet away, and had no idea that that LaHood was about to commit murder. Foster was no angel that night. Earlier, he had drunk beer, smoked marijuana, and waited while Brown and other friends got out of his car to rob people at gunpoint, twice.

Brown was executed on July 19, 2006 for LaHood's murder. If Foster didn't kill LaHood, why is Texas trying to execute him? It's the "law of parties," which states that a person can be held responsible for a crime committed by someone else. Texas is the only state where the law of parties applies to capital cases, where someone can be executed because of someone else's actions. In this case, the prosecution claimed that Foster was guilty because he "should have anticipated" the murder.

In 2005, a U.S. District Judge ruled that the Law of Parties had been misapplied, violating Foster's Eighth and 14th Amendment rights, and overturned his death sentence. But a federal circuit court overruled that decision, so now Foster's fate is in the hands of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Unless the Pardons Board acts, Foster will be killed by the state for failing to read Maurecio Brown's mind.

The Pardons Board rules today.

If they recommend commutation of Foster's death sentence, Gov. Perry decides Foster's fate. The Pardons Board rarely commutes sentences, and Governor Perry, citing strong support in Texas for the death penalty, did not uphold the only commutation recommended during his term (he has overseen 159 executions since 2000).

Even though the odds are against Foster, we know that public pressure can make a difference. Every ounce of pressure could help.

Again, please call the Governor at 512-463-2000 and the Pardons and Paroles Board at 512-406-5852. Email us at to let us know that you did. And pass this on.

Thank You and Peace,

-- James, Van, Gabriel, Clarissa, Mervyn, and the rest of the team
August 28th, 2007


Editorial Boards

Not a Killer: Kenneth Foster does not deserve execution, Dallas Morning News, August 26, 2007.

Backward Texas law may make man pay with life for deed he didn't do, Austin American Statesman, July 28, 2007.

Opinions Columns

An appointment with death despite the evidence, Star Telegram, July 29, 2007.

Executing this man is bloodlust, not justice, Waco Tribune, August 26, 2007.

In Texas, bad company can mean capital punishment, Express News, August 27, 2007.


Death debate centers on intent, August 25, 2007.

Getaway driver nears execution for '96 murder, August 20, 2007.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Texas prosecutors use the 'law of parties'
to widen the net for capital punishment, Feb. 11, 2005.">here.

The State has a never ending thirst for the blood of Black men, but it's becoming a less choosy vampiric entity, and soon will be coming for some from people who are just like you. Unless you stand up to it and say, "no more."

No votes yet


MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

the entire Bush Administration would be executed. Oh, I forgot, they are only responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings. And they're white (Condi is a BICO--black in color only).

I will call the great state of Texas, to inquire as to how it feels to reside in the 19th Century some eleven decades after the fact.


Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

That would make the entire U.S. guilty, wouldn't it now? I believe TX had better build a bigger gallows.


dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

Philip Workman didn't kill anybody, either. Yet a policeman was killed while Workman was committing an armed robbery, and that was good enough for the State of Tennessee to take his life. Workman was white, BTW.

The death penalty presents far too many temptations for its abuse, and I would abolish it for that reason alone.

...for the rest of us

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

white, black, poor, less poor- the state will kill you, should the wrong people decide to make their careers off of your life ending.

the Predatory State. it's my new phrase.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

According to some, the organ bank bizness is one reason why China like the death penalty so much.

If there was a profit motive in it, the Rethuglicans would be executing wrongdoers for jaywalking, especially in places like New Orleans or other blue cities in otherwise red states.

Yes, Detroit, I'm talking about you...

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by lambert on

... to "give back to the community," KB.

Why must we always be so bitter and cynical all the time?

UPDATE Once again, Reality trumps snark:

That is the proposal being considered in the South Carolina Senate. Prisoners would receive up to 180 days of time served for donating an organ or bone marrow.

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Setting all emotion aside, like proper Vulcans.

What's the deepest, rootiest root cause of the hideous conditions in US prisons? The fact that the residents there have no value whatever. Aside from providing the raw material necessary for the employment of the overall management staff--and even then an individual prisoner is entirely fungible, readily exchanged for another of which there is an unending source of supply as long as the War On Drugs continues--they by and large produce nothing. The "work" they are allowed consists primarily of maintaining their own existence as a microcosm of a community: cooking, laundry, etc.

Upshot being that, having no value, no value is seen in expending any money on them beyond what is required for bare survival and the comfort of the management staff. Specifically, the virtual lack of medical services--talking just physical here, the lack of mental health care is a whole 'nother matter--makes prisons cesspools of disease, many of them of the incurable viral sorts like HIV and the hepatituses.

If this organ donation deal went through though it would suddenly become important to change this situation. Frankly the first step is one I am surprised wasn't taken long ago: blood donations by prisoners. I have never lived anyplace where the local collector of blood products was not screaming incessantly about shortages.

Oh hell, that's as much snark as I can crank out at this hour. Go read Larry Niven's short story "Jigsaw Man" for a fuller explication of the shortfalls of this approach.

Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

In the face of a growing exodus from the U.S. for operations abroad, shouldn't the challenge make some of our industrial leaders rise up to meet it? With proper care and feeding, we can staunch the flow of 'operational' monies abroad. Get Rep Steven King on the phone - he was promoting horse slaughter as helping to keep the balance of payments with France.

Chuck Colson's Prison Ministries would like to be chosen vendors.


Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

supply items (e.g. extension cords, brooms, desks, etc.) which the Fedgov (and maybe states) paid for, because these items could be had so cheaply. The inmates' "wages" for this labor were divided between a portion they kept, a portion that went to their taxes, and a portion used to pay back their public defenders. As it happens, I saw this operation in a Federal minimum-security facility in Big Spring, Texas in 1988. Other operations in which the inmates were employed were gardens (they raised all the vegetables they consumed, plus some for exchange with other facilities where, presumably, inmates' labor helped produce meat), a library, and some of them, under supervision, did community service -- they were paid for all of this, at the rate of, if I recall correctly, 17 cents an hour.

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!-- Xan