Kenneth Foster Update: Immediate Action Needed

By Andre Banks Aug 30, 2007

UPDATE: For only the third time in history, the Texas Pardons and Paroles Board has voted (6-1) to commute Kenneth Foster’s death sentence. But that means we have only 24 hours to pressure the Governor to sign the order and save his life. Please take a minute this afternoon to call Governor Rick Perry and demand that he save one innocent life: 512-463-2000. Check out the post on Kenneth’s story from earlier this week after the cut: 2/28/07 From Merv & Co. at Color of Change:

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.

After you make that call, check out this online petition drive to free Kenneth:

More from Color of Change on this breaking story: 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 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.