At this time, Melissa Lucio’s attorneys submitted a supplemental clemency software to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott. Melissa is dealing with execution on April 27, 2022 for the unintentional demise of her daughter, Mariah, who died from issues after a fall down steep out of doors stairs.
The supplemental software features a new declaration from a fifth juror — Melissa’s jury foreperson — who joins the calls of 4 different jurors and the alternate to halt Melissa’s pending execution or grant her a brand new trial the place new proof of her innocence might be thought of.
Melissa’s supplemental software additionally consists of “new declarations from key witnesses who display that the prosecution’s case in opposition to Melissa was based mostly on false or deceptive testimony” and introduces “new scientific proof of Melissa’s innocence, evaluation of the gender bias that contaminated Melissa’s investigation and prosecution, and extra group assist for clemency.” (Supp. App. at p. 1.)
“I consider that Ms. Lucio deserves a brand new trial and for a brand new jury to listen to this proof.”
On March 22, 2022, Melissa filed her clemency software, which included “seven new stories, together with from nationally acknowledged medical professionals, a pathologist, a police coach, scientific psychologist, and neuroscientist that disprove each factor of the prosecution’s case in opposition to her. It additionally defined that Melissa’s investigation, prosecution, and sentence have been contaminated with bias, maybe most evident within the disparate remedy between Melissa and Mariah’s father, Robert. And it included assist for clemency from each single considered one of Melissa’s kids; 4 of the jurors who voted to condemn Melissa to demise; and a variety of people and organizations, from religion leaders to anti-violence advocates.” (Supp. App. at p. 1.) A bipartisan group of greater than 80 Texas Home of Representatives have additionally requested the Board to grant Melissa clemency.
Melissa Lucio’s Complement to Software for Commutation of Demise Sentence to a Lesser Penalty or, within the Various, a 120-Reprieve from Execution might be considered right here: https://tinyurl.com/2s39jsah
Supplemental Clemency Displays might be considered: here
Melissa’s Clemency Software, which was filed on March 22, 2022, might be accessed here.
Clemency Displays Quantity I: here
Clemency Displays Quantity II: https://tinyurl.com/45vrbjhn
PDF of Desk of Contents/Index: https://tinyurl.com/msfkzyhw
Jury Foreperson Joins 4 Different Jurors in Calling for Reduction for Melissa Lucio
Melissa’s supplemental clemency software features a new declaration from Melissa Quintanilla, who was the foreperson of the jury that convicted Melissa and sentenced her to demise. Ms. Quintanilla’s declaration states: “I used to be disheartened to be taught that there was further proof that was not introduced at trial. I consider that Ms. Lucio deserves a brand new trial and for a brand new jury to listen to this proof. Figuring out what I do know now, I don’t assume she ought to be executed.” (Supp. App. at p. 11. Supp. Exhibit 13 at pp. 2-3.) There are actually 5 jurors who voted to condemn Melissa to demise, and one alternate, who assist reduction for her.
Melissa’s Conviction and Sentence Rested on False, Deceptive, and Incomplete Testimony
Melissa’s supplemental software consists of further declarations that the prosecution hid proof from the protection and introduced false and deceptive testimony to acquire her conviction and demise sentence, together with:
- The declaration of Lucy Arreola, a former CPS investigator who was assigned to analyze Mariah’s demise. Ms. Arreola interviewed Melissa’s kids and confirmed they didn’t allege bodily abuse by Melissa and corroborated her account of the occasions surrounding Mariah’s demise. Ms. Arreola’s stories and recordings weren’t disclosed to Melissa’s trial counsel. (Supp. App. at pp. 13-14. Supp. Exhibit 8.)
- Journalist Chandra Bozelko supplied a declaration that reveals the prosecution misrepresented Melissa’s jail information throughout their closing arguments on the penalty part. Later, the Texas Courtroom of Prison Appeals relied on the mischaracterization of Melissa’s jail information to assist the jury’s discovering that Melissa would possible commit future acts of violence if sentenced to life in jail. As Ms. Bozelko particulars, Melissa had no report of violence within the jail. (Supp. App. at p. 15. Supp. Exhibit 17.)
- A therapist who met with Melissa earlier than her 2008 trial supplied a declaration that the prosecution’s use of his stories was “deceptive.” The prosecution used the therapist’s stories to assert that Melissa had denied being sexually abused as a toddler when, actually, Melissa reported to the therapist that she had been. (Supp. App. at pp. 15-16. Supp. Exhibit 11.)
New Professional Studies: As a Survivor of Childhood Abuse and Home Violence, Melissa was Uniquely Susceptible to Police Interrogation Techniques
Melissa’s supplemental software additionally consists of the stories of two specialists in scientific psychology, Dr. Bethany Model and Dr. Lucy Guarnera, who, respectively, clarify how Melissa’s historical past of childhood sexual abuse and home violence made her uniquely weak to the strain techniques used within the police interrogation and clarify the latest evolution of scientific analysis linking trauma, like Melissa endured, to false confession danger. Dr. Model notes that Melissa “endured a very horrendous degree of maximum and frequent childhood sexual abuse.” Dr. Model concludes, “[t]he paramedics and detectives who opined that Melissa didn’t present as a lot emotion as they thought a mom ought to present had no consciousness of her advanced historical past of trauma, her extreme psychological sicknesses, nor that Melissa had survived every day abuse and degradation by dissociating and suppressing robust emotion.” (Supp. App. at p. 5. Supp. Exhibit 2 at 16.)
Dr. Guarnera, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences on the College of Virginia Faculty of Drugs, explains new scientific analysis, not accessible on the time of Melissa’s trial, on the hyperlink between trauma and false confessions. Dr. Guarnera notes that “the dynamics of the Reid strategies of police interrogation [which were used during Melissa’s interrogation]—notably when the interrogation is carried out by male cops—mirror exactly the dynamics of intimate companion violence.” (Supp. App. at p. 5. Supp. Exhibit 6 at 4.)
As well as, Dr. Guarnera gives crucial details about how the elements resulting in Melissa’s wrongful conviction are mirrored within the nationwide knowledge on wrongful convictions of ladies accused of killing kids. Dr. Guarnera cites a 2014 evaluation of the Nationwide Registry of Exonerations that signifies “ladies are practically twice as possible as males to be wrongfully convicted of kid murder (30% vs. 16%), and thrice as possible as males to be wrongfully convicted of crimes that by no means occurred (63% vs. 21%). In over half (56%) of those no-crime exonerations of ladies, the supposed victims have been kids. Additional, in a single out of seven formal exonerations of ladies, the girl was accused of murdering a toddler who in actuality died of an unrelated accident or undiagnosed pathology.” (Supp. App. at p. 6. Supp. Exhibit 6 at 5.)
New Professional Report: Abuse of Trial Courtroom’s Discretion to Allow Texas Ranger to Testify About His Skill to Decide Melissa’s Guilt or Innocence by Her Facial Expressions
Melissa’s supplemental software additionally features a declaration from David Faigman, Chancellor and Dean of the College of California Hastings School of Regulation, who served as a Senior Advisor to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Expertise’s Report, “Forensic Science in Prison Courts: Making certain Scientific Validity of Characteristic-Comparability Strategies,” who concludes that “it was an abuse of the trial court docket’s discretion to allow Ranger Escalon to testify concerning his means to find out Ms. Lucio’s guilt or innocence by decoding her facial expressions and demeanor.” (Supp. App. at pp. 6-7. Supp. Exhibit 3 at 2.) Professor Faigman additional concludes, “[t]he prejudicial nature of this error was compounded by the truth that the substance of the scientific testimony in query was false as a matter of neuroscientific consensus.” (Supp. App. at p. 7. Supp. Exhibit 3 at p. 2) (emphasis added).
Gender Bias Affected Melissa’s Investigation and Prosecution
Melissa’s supplemental software states, “[f]rom the second they arrived on the scene of Mariah’s demise, police and first responders fashioned judgments about [Melissa] that have been rooted of their perceptions of how a grieving mom ought to behave. These visceral impressions led them to focus on her as a suspect even earlier than they’d gathered any proof within the case.” (Supp. App. at p. 7.) In distinction, they handled Robert Alvarez, Melissa’s companion and Mariah’s father, as a sufferer and expressed empathy for his loss, though he had a historical past of familial violence. (Supp. App. at pp. 7-8.)
A declaration submitted by forensic linguist Professor Robert Leonard concludes that the language the police used whereas interrogating Robert is essentially in keeping with an effort to assemble info, fairly than assign blame. Then again, Professor Leonard states that the officers interrogating Melissa “used language that sought responsible her for Mariah’s accidents. They rejected her repeated assertions of innocence.” (Supp. App. at p. 9.) In addition they “repeatedly invoked Melissa’s caretaking function throughout their interrogation, in search of to impress self-blame—and a confession—for failing to dwell as much as her function as a mom.” (Supp. App. at p. 9. Supp. Exhibit 4 at p. 21.)
In a surprising evaluation of differential remedy, Professor Leonard notes that the interrogating officers “didn’t permit [Melissa] to finish her ideas: whereas the police solely interrupted Robert as soon as, they interrupted Melissa over 70 instances whereas she was making an attempt to reply or defend herself.” (Supp. App. at p. 9. Supp Exhibit 4 at p. 10.) At this time, though each mother and father have been chargeable for Mariah’s care, Melissa is dealing with execution and Robert is a free man.
Rising Requires Clemency from Survivor Organizations
Melissa’s supplemental software cites the rising assist for clemency from group teams working to deal with household violence and sexual assault in Texas. In a letter to Governor Abbott, the Texas Council on Household Violence and the Texas Affiliation In opposition to Sexual Assault wrote: “Melissa Lucio’s looming execution date is a chance to ship a robust assertion of compassion for a sufferer who suffered a lifetime of violence with out diminishing the tragic and sophisticated end result of her case.” (Supp. App. at p. 12. Supp. Exhibit 1.)
The supplemental software additionally features a letter from 4 ladies who have been wrongfully convicted of the homicide of their very own kids who write: “We’ve stood in Melissa’s sneakers, dealing with accusations of inflicting hurt to our baby when, in actuality, no crime had occurred, or another person was accountable. Like Melissa, a few of us skilled lifelong trauma from sexual and bodily abuse previous to our wrongful convictions.” (Supp. App. at p. 13. Supp. Exhibit 10.) Later at this time, a letter supporting clemency will likely be submitted by the Lone Star Justice Alliance, which incorporates 40 organizations and specialists in Texas who work with survivors of human trafficking and home violence.
A case overview seems beneath my signature. Thanks for contemplating protection of this new info in Melissa Lucio’s innocence case and letting me know if you need to talk with considered one of her attorneys.
Melissa Lucio Case Abstract
A Sufferer of Sexual Abuse and Home Violence Wrongly Convicted and Condemned to Die for the Unintentional Demise of Her Daughter
Melissa Lucio, a Mexican-American who’s dealing with execution in Texas on April 27, 2022, was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to demise after her daughter, Mariah, sustained accidents from an unintentional fall. Though Melissa repeatedly informed the police that she didn’t kill her daughter, they continued to interrogate her for 5 hours till she agreed, falsely, to take accountability for a few of her daughter’s accidents.
Melissa suffered a lifetime of sexual abuse and home violence, which made her particularly weak to the police’s coercive interrogation techniques. Melissa had no historical past of violence, however her husband, Mariah’s father, was discovered responsible of kid endangerment and sentenced to four years, though he had a history of assaultive habits.
Struck by the sentencing disparity and grave doubts concerning the reliability of Melissa’s conviction, a bipartisan group of greater than 80 members of the Texas Home of Representatives oppose Melissa’s execution. Lots of of Texas anti-domestic violence teams, Baptist, Evangelical and Catholic leaders, Latino organizations, exonerees of wrongful convictions, and Melissa’s kids are urging the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott to grant Melissa clemency.
Melissa’s execution would trigger additional struggling for her kids who misplaced their sister 15 years in the past. It could even be the primary execution of a Latina in the USA because the resumption of the demise penalty within the Seventies.
Clemency Software Cites New Proof Supporting Melissa’s Innocence Declare
On March 22, 2022, Melissa’s attorneys submitted an software for clemency to the Governor and the Board of Pardons and Paroles which incorporates the declarations of seven nationally acknowledged specialists, together with specialists in false confessions and medical and forensic specialists, who’ve reviewed the proof and concluded that Melissa’s conviction was based mostly upon:
(1) an unreliable “confession” that’s primarily a mere “regurgitation” of info and phrases officers fed to her in the course of the 5 hour interrogation, and
(2) unscientific, false proof that misled the jury into believing that Mariah should have been killed by bodily abuse, when the proof is definitely in keeping with a conclusion that Mariah died from medical issues after a fall.
The appliance additionally paperwork that Melissa asserted her innocence greater than 100 instances over 5 hours of the coercive interrogation.
Along with the brand new forensic analyses, the clemency software consists of declarations from 5 jurors stating they’ve grave considerations about proof withheld from them at Melissa’s capital trial and would assist reduction. An extra juror, an alternate who heard the proof, however didn’t be part of deliberations, additionally submitted a declaration supporting reduction for Melissa.
The District Legal professional, the courts, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and the Governor should undertake a significant assessment of Melissa’s case. That assessment can solely occur if the execution date is withdrawn or stayed.
A Rush to Judgment After a Tragedy
On February 15, 2007, as Melissa was shifting her household to a brand new dwelling, Mariah fell down a steep out of doors staircase resulting in their condo. After the autumn, Mariah’s accidents didn’t seem life-threatening, however two days later she fell asleep on her mother and father’ mattress and didn’t get up. Mariah had bodily disabilities that made her strolling unstable and he or she had a historical past of falls, together with a latest fall at a preschool program the place she misplaced consciousness. On the time of her arrest, Melissa had no historical past of abusing her kids or violence of any form. (App. at pp. 2, 10-12.)
Two hours after Mariah’s demise, Melissa — grieving and in shock — was hauled into an interrogation room the place, for over 5 hours, armed, male cops stood over her, yelled at her, threatened her, berated her parenting, and repeatedly refused to just accept something lower than an admission to inflicting her daughter’s demise. Melissa was especially vulnerable to the aggressive, intimidating, and psychologically manipulative interrogation techniques of the police and male authority figures as a consequence of her historical past of abuse, trauma, low IQ, and abnormally excessive ranges of suggestibility and compliance. (App. at pp. 15-17.)
After hours of steady interrogation, Melissa acquiesced, adopted their instructions, and gave in to their calls for. She was sleep-deprived — it was early within the morning by then — and pregnant with twins, emotionally and bodily exhausted by the threats and manipulation. (App. at pp. 15-17, 39.)
Two specialists on false confessions (together with police coach and interrogation skilled, David Thompson, and Dr. Gisli Gudjonsson, one of many world’s main specialists on false confessions) have analyzed Melissa’s interrogation and concluded that her admissions are “unreliable” and easily a “regurgitation” of the phrases and info that interrogators fed to her all through a extremely coercive interrogation course of. (App. at pp. 16, 39-42.)
Missing bodily proof or eyewitnesses connecting Melissa to Mariah’s demise, Cameron County District Legal professional Armando Villalobos — who’s now serving a 13-year federal sentence for bribery and extortion — characterised Melissa’s acquiescence in the course of the interrogation as a “confession” to homicide. (App. at p. 19.)
Mariah’s Demise Was Declared a Homicide Earlier than the Post-mortem Even Started
The appliance states: “[The State’s Medical Examiner] Dr. Farley, who was informed going into post-mortem that Melissa had ‘confessed’ to abusing Mariah, and who was accompanied within the post-mortem suite by two of the interrogating officers, assumed every part she noticed was proof of abuse and ignored all proof on the contrary.” (App. at p. 20.)
At Melissa’s trial, the jury was informed that Mariah’s accidents may solely be defined by baby abuse and issues from an unintentional fall have been not possible. That testimony was false. Dr. Farley failed in her responsibility to rule out nonviolent medical explanations for Mariah’s situation earlier than dashing to agree with regulation enforcement’s judgment of abuse. (App. at pp. 19-20, 28.)
Seven specialists, together with nationally acknowledged medical and forensic scientists, have now reviewed the proof in Melissa’s case. Dr. Michael Laposata, the chairman of the Division of Pathology on the College of Texas Medical Department at Galveston, concluded that on the time of her demise Mariah had indications of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC), a dysfunction that causes intensive bruising following a head trauma, just like the harm that Mariah suffered from her fall, or an an infection. (App. at p. 21.)
As Dr. Laposata said in his declaration, DIC may cause profound bruising all through the physique with no trauma in anyway. “In sufferers with DIC, routine dealing with at dwelling or in a hospital setting may cause vital bruising. It isn’t doable to inform the distinction between a bruise from DIC and a bruise from abuse.” (Exhibit 6 at p. 2.)
Dr. Janice Ophoven, a pediatric forensic pathologist, concluded that Mariah’s post-mortem signifies she was in DIC on the time of her demise. Her information additionally present she had a persistent excessive fever, and was sufficiently dehydrated to expertise shock. The appliance states: “[S]teeped in extrinsic, biasing info, [Dr. Farley] did not assessment any of Mariah’s medical historical past to search for any clarification or contributing trigger to her accidents, conduct any fundamental laboratory assessments to diagnose a coagulation dysfunction, and even carry out easy testing to substantiate the presence of an infection or sepsis.” (App. at p. 28.)
5 jurors who served on the jury that sentenced Melissa to die and one alternate juror have expressed grave considerations concerning the proof that they weren’t allowed to listen to. Juror Johnny Galvan said that “[t]he reality which you could’t pinpoint what precipitated Mariah’s demise signifies that [Melissa] shouldn’t be executed.” Juror Alejandro Saldivar said, “I feel if I heard this proof I’ll have determined in another way.” (App. at p. 3.)
Melissa’s Lifetime of Sexual Abuse and Home Violence Made Her Particularly Susceptible to Coercive Interrogation Techniques
Melissa’s uncle and stepfather sexually abused her over a interval of years, beginning when she was six years outdated. She informed her mom, however nothing was performed. As a younger teenager, she was raped once more by an grownup man. (App. at p. 44.)
At age 16, Melissa received married, turning into a toddler bride, to flee the abuse she suffered and witnessed in her childhood dwelling. (App. at p. 45.) Melissa’s first husband was a violent alcoholic, based on testimony at trial (App. at p. 45.) He deserted Melissa after she gave start to 5 kids. Melissa’s subsequent companion continued the cycle of violence and abuse. She had seven kids by her second husband. He beat Melissa, choked her, threatened to kill her, and repeatedly raped her. A few of Melissa’s children additionally reported that he struck them. (App. at pp. 45-47.)
The household sunk deeper into poverty and was intermittently homeless. Melissa labored cleansing homes and sought different jobs when she may. Her companion Robert was jailed for months at a time. By the point Melissa was 35, she was fighting abuse, cognitive and psychological impairments, dependancy, and poverty. She had given start to 12 kids and suffered a number of miscarriages. (App. at p. 9.)
Melissa’s Statements Have the Hallmarks of a False Confession
Over 5 hours, Melissa asserted her innocence 86 instances verbally and 35 instances non-verbally (shaking her head), however police refused to just accept any response that was not an request for forgiveness—suggesting to Melissa that the interrogation wouldn’t cease until she informed them what they wished to listen to. (App. at p. 15.) Whereas the overwhelming majority of interrogations final half-hour to as much as two hours, interrogations that elicit confessions later confirmed false final for much longer. “[T]he size of Melissa’s nighttime interrogation additional elevated the danger that she would falsely incriminate herself.” (App at pp. 16, 36-37.)
The interrogating officers used manipulative, psychological strategies identified to trigger false confessions and disregarded Melissa’s a number of vulnerabilities, together with her shock and grief over her daughter’s demise hours earlier, bodily and emotional exhaustion, sleep deprivation, her excessive ranges of suggestibility and compliance, and low IQ. (App. at pp. 37-39.) In accordance with specialists, Melissa’s lifetime of sexual abuse, beginning at six years outdated, and home violence by the hands of two companions, made her extraordinarily weak and inclined to falsely confessing throughout an interrogation by male cops, some armed. One detective yelled at her: “[i]f I beat you half to demise like that little baby was beat, I wager you you’d die too.” (App. at pp. 35, 42-47.)
Physician Gisli Gudjonsson, one of many world’s main specialists in false confessions, and David Thompson, an skilled from one of many nation’s prime interrogation coaching faculties, have reviewed the report of Melissa’s case and decided that Melissa “was relentlessly pressured and extensively manipulated” all through the various hours of interrogation and her statements bear the hallmarks of a coerced-compliant false confession. (App. at pp. 15-16.)
Dr. Gudjonsson concluded that Melissa’s case presents a “very excessive” danger of false confession and in his “intensive forensic analysis of instances of disputed confessions internationally, the quantity, severity, and mixture of the danger elements concerned in the course of the prolonged interrogation are distinctive.” (App. at 16.) He additional defined Melissa’s “historical past of damaging/traumatic life occasions is related to elevated degree of suggestibility, compliance, and false confession . . . as a result of trauma considerably reduces the resilience of the trauma victims to deal with interrogative strain.” (App. at p. 37.)
Mr. Thompson famous, “[r]epetitive threats mixed with guarantees or solutions of leniency are identified to incentivize harmless topics to admit. These techniques, alongside Ms. Lucio’s susceptibility and her way of thinking in a prolonged interrogation shortly after her daughter’s demise, are identified to have a considerable psychological affect on a topic’s decision-making” and located her statements are a results of fact-feeding or different techniques utilized by investigators. (Exhibit 11 at pp. 5-6.)
False confessions elicited by guilt-presumptive police interrogations—just like the interrogation at challenge right here—are a main reason for wrongful conviction in the USA. Of the 67 ladies listed on the Nationwide Registry of Exonerations who have been exonerated after a homicide conviction, over one quarter (17/67) concerned false confessions and practically one third (20/67) concerned baby victims.
What the Jury By no means Heard
The jury by no means heard how Melissa’s history of trauma and abuse formed her reactions instantly following her daughter’s demise. With out that context, the jury convicted Melissa of capital homicide. (App. at p. 13.)
Melissa’s trial attorneys weren’t ready for the penalty part of the trial. Lead counsel hamstrung his mitigation specialist and skilled till weeks earlier than the trial started. Consequently, Melissa’s mitigation specialist by no means accomplished her investigation and the jury by no means realized concerning the extent of Melissa’s historical past of kid sexual abuse and home violence.
The omission of this mitigating proof was notably damaging as a result of the prosecution had a weak case for demise. Melissa had no prior report of violence and the State’s sole proof of future dangerousness was the demise of Mariah and a previous conviction for driving below the affect. (App. at p. 62.)
So Far, the Courts’ Arms Have Been Tied
A majority of judges have agreed that the trial court docket was mistaken to exclude the psychologist’s skilled testimony, which might have supplied a proof for Melissa’s acquiescence in the course of the coercive interrogation. “The State introduced no bodily proof or witness testimony establishing that [Melissa] abused Mariah or any of her kids, not to mention killed Mariah,” seven Fifth Circuit judges wrote. By excluding skilled explanations for Melissa’s remarks throughout her interrogation, the trial court docket wrongfully barred Melissa’s proper to current her protection. (App. at p. 13.) However a divided Fifth Circuit believed that present federal regulation cuts off the courts’ means to right this injustice
On February 18, 2022, the Inter-American Fee on Human Rights (IACHR) issued a decision calling on officers to not execute Melissa earlier than the Fee has had a possibility to succeed in a ultimate resolution in her case. The Fee thought of the proof that Melissa’s “life was formed by bodily, emotional, and sexual abuse,” and that the identical experiences formed her response to a coercive interrogation.
Disparate Sentencing in Melissa’s Case
Melissa regrets not getting medical take care of Mariah earlier, however she will not be responsible of homicide. Her husband, Mariah’s father, was discovered responsible of kid endangerment and sentenced to four years, though he had a history of assaultive habits. At most, a cost of neglect was extra acceptable for Melissa than homicide. (App. at p. 3.)
Corrupt Cameron County DA Villalobos personally led Melissa’s prosecution. In 2007, in change for a bribe, he enabled the discharge and flight from justice of Amit Livingston, a person who had killed his estranged girlfriend. As DA Villalobos was scheming to facilitate the discharge of this male batterer, he was pursuing the demise penalty in opposition to a lady who was a lifelong sufferer of sexual abuse and home violence. Former DA Villalobos is now serving a 13-year federal sentence for bribery and extortion. (App. at p. 19.)
Melissa is a Particular person of Deep Catholic Religion Who Walks with God
Melissa grew up with out a lot non secular instruction, however started her stroll with God on September 26, 2014. She is an individual of deep Catholic religion who attends Catholic mass providers each Monday and meets individually with a pastor, Deacon Ronnie, on Thursdays and Sundays. In 2015, Melissa and different ladies on demise row fashioned a Bible research group the place, she says, “all of us assist one another.” Her essential concern now could be for her household, particularly having her kids assist one another. Due to Melissa, her son John has additionally devoted himself to God, and he or she reads a Bible verse to him at the start of every of their visits. (App. at pp. 54-61.)
Widespread Assist Throughout Texas for Clemency
Alarmed by the prospect of executing an harmless lady, who’s a lifelong survivor of sexual abuse and home violence, a large and numerous array of Texans are urging the Governor and the Board to grant Melissa clemency, together with:
- 225 anti-domestic violence/sexual assault organizations from Texas and throughout the nation;
- Over 130 Baptist, Evangelical and Catholic religion leaders in Texas, together with greater than 50 Baptist leaders, the Govt Director of the Hispanic Baptist Conference of Texas, and the Director of the Rio Grande Valley Baptist Affiliation;
- Greater than 30 teams that work on behalf of Latinos in Texas and throughout the U.S., together with the Nationwide Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL);
- Eighteen folks wrongfully convicted of against the law in a Texas state court docket, together with Hannah Overton and Michael Morton; and
- Twenty-six demise row exonerees, together with two from Texas.
Melissa’s kids are additionally urging the Governor and the Board to not execute their mom. They’re Mariah’s brothers and sisters and Texas regulation requires that their needs be taken into consideration. (App. at pp. 1-2, 49-51.)
Greater than 200,000 folks, together with greater than 33,000 in Texas, have signed an Innocence Venture petition urging clemency for Melissa.
Abused Latinas and Wrongful Convictions
Of the 67 ladies listed on the Nationwide Registry of Exonerations who have been exonerated after a homicide conviction, over one quarter (17/67) concerned false confessions and practically one third (20/67) concerned baby victims.
Roughly one in three Latinas will suffer intimate companion violence in her lifetime, however the charges are greater for Latinas like Melissa who battle with poverty and who have been sexually abused as kids. Additionally, analysis signifies that police are likely to disbelieve ladies of shade after they report home violence. At Melissa’s demise penalty trial, the prosecution belittled the proof of Melissa’s historical past of sexual abuse and home violence. (See trial transcript vol. 39 pp. 161-62.)
In accordance with the Demise Penalty Info Middle, since 1973, 186 folks have been exonerated from demise row, together with 16 in Texas, and the variety of folks whose lives have been taken earlier than they have been in a position to show their innocence is unknown.
For extra info on Melissa Lucio’s innocence case, please go to https://innocenceproject.org/who-is-melissa-lucio-death-penalty-texas-execution-innocent/ and The Cornell Middle on the Demise Penalty Worldwide at https://deathpenaltyworldwide.org/advocacy/melissa-lucio/