Hundreds Plan Monday Vigils Against Warren Hill Execution in 11 GA Towns
For Immediate Release - July 12, 2013
GEORGIA SET TO EXECUTE INTELLECTUALLY DISABLED MAN WHO FUNCTIONS AT SIXTH GRADE LEVEL UNLESS SUPREME COURT INTERVENES
Hundreds to gather in eleven towns across Georgia in events planned for Monday
ATLANTA- Amidst national and international criticism, the State of Georgia is set to take the life of Warren Hill on Monday July 15th unless the US Supreme Court intervenes. Mr. Hill's case has garnered widespread attention from across the globe and has again brought scrutiny of Georgia's criminal justice system and death penalty practices.
The US Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that it was unconstitutional to execute people with Intellectual Disability [formerly called mental retardation] but did not set the criteria by which to determine Intellectual Disability. Georgia is the only state in the country that uses the highest legal burden of proof which most legal experts agree is nearly impossible to overcome, even in the most obvious cases such as Mr. Hill's.
"Georgia's legal system is once more bringing shame and embarrassment to our state, this time by failing to protect those who are most vulnerable. We continue to set the bar for the most inhumane and unjust practices in the country which is exactly why the US Supreme Court must intervene," says Edward Dubose, State Conference President of the NAACP.
Without intervention, this will be Georgia's second execution since the state took the life of Troy Davis despite strong evidence of his innocence and national and international protest.
Governor Deal's Pardon Board refused to intervene even though every doctor who has examined Hill agrees he is intellectually disabled. Even the three doctors who originally testified for the prosecution have since reversed their original testimony citing an "extremely and unusually rushed" process that did not allow them to accurately assess his disability. The reversal of the State's primary witnesses echoes similar problems that were exposed in the case of Troy Davis. In Davis' case, seven of nine witnesses reversed their original statements citing police coercion and intimidation.
"We are supposed to have checks and balances in our legal system but everyone can see that this process is severely broken. We need an appeals process that is an avenue to justice, not an obstacle course," says Kathryn Hamoudah, Board Chair for Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP).
On Monday, the civil rights community, developmental disability advocates and families and those concerned about Georgia's criminal justice practices will join forces and hold press events and rallies in eleven towns across Georgia. "We are compelled to come together to form this coalition to address this urgent issue because people with intellectual disabilities deserve to live as full citizens of this country and State, protected by laws designed to recognize our diversity and uphold our basic rights, despite our differences," says Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities Executive Director Eric Jacobson, who has been active with other disability organizations in advocating for Warren Hill's rights as a person with intellectual disabilities.
"In addition to SCOTUS intervention we call on the leadership in the Legislature to address this problem in next year's session by changing the law from "beyond a reasonable doubt" to "preponderance of the evidence" so that Georgia is never again positioned to put a man like Mr. Hill to death."
MONDAY EVENT LOGISTICS:
6:00 PM Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison
Contact: Kathryn Hamoudah, 404-819-4233, ,
4:45 PM Press Event at Troy Davis Park (Woodruff Park) with March to the Capitol.
6:30 PM State Capitol Steps, 206 Washington St.
Contact: Peggy Hendrix, 404-771-8940,
12:00 PM US Post Office Prince St. & Forsyth St.
Contact: Elizabeth Dede, 229-591-0114,
6:30 PM UGA Arch on E. Broad St.
Contact: Robbie Buller, 706-783-5131, ext 101,
6:30 PM Augusta Commons, 836 Reynolds Street at Broad Street Entrance (Across from James Brown Statute)
Contact: Pat Seaborn, 706-860-2721,
6:30 PM Clarkesville Courthouse near the Gazebo, 226 Grant St.
Contact: Helen O'Brien, 706-968-2490,
6:30 PM Intersection of Hwy 520 and Hwy 82
Contact: Rev. Ezekial Holley, 229-407-0101
6:30 PM Rockdale County Courthouse; Milstead Ave. side; 922 Court St.; Conyers, GA 30012
Contact: Barbra Lee, 770-483-2648
6:30 PM Cobb County Courthouse, On Marietta Square Cherokee St./Roswell St.,
Contact: Debbie Freel, 404-641-7719,
6:30 PM Milledgeville Court House 121 North Wilkinson Street
Contact: Victoria Abbey, 770-597-6888,
5:30pm Chatham County Courthouse, 133 Montgomery Street, Savannah
Contact: Rosalyn Rouse, 912-398-1578