Please sign the online petition to stop the execution of Clarence Ray Allen, at http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/ClarenceRayAllen

The state of California plans to execute Clarence Ray Allen at 12:01 am on January 17th, 2006, one day after his 76th birthday, and one day after the commemoration of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

Allen is in extremely poor health, blind, and confined to a wheelchair. He recently suffered a heart attack, flatlined, and was revived by prison officials in order to enable his execution. If he is executed on the 17th, prison guards will have to carry him into the death chamber. For these reasons, even former San Quentin Prison Warden Danny Vazquez has come out against the execution, stating that "Allen's execution now would be a shameful act. Given his age, his infirmities, the punishment of the many years he has already spent on Death Row, his excellent behavior during that time and the very little natural life he has remaining, sparing Allen from execution would be an act of decency, compassion and justice."

Allen was convicted in 1982 for ordering the murders of three individuals while serving a life sentence at Folsom State Prison for the murder of a young woman in 1974. Billy Hamilton, the man who actually perpetrated the three murders, also received a death sentence.

As in virtually all death penalty cases in state of California, Allen's conviction and sentencing were contingent on racism, ineffective counsel, and jailhouse informants. Allen is Native American, all of the victims were white, and his case was tried in a rural, predominantly white county. California has a higher proportion of Native Americans on death row than any other state, and Native Americans nationwide are more likely to receive a death sentence than any other group.

In reviewing the quality of Allen's legal defense, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reported that Allen's "[t]rial counsel…failed sufficiently to investigate and adequately present available mitigating evidence" and that it is "overwhelmingly plain" that trial counsel's performance "fell below an objective standard of reasonableness."

The chief witnesses against Allen at trial were admitted participants in the crimes that he was charged with. The prosecutor secured their testimony by giving them benefits, including the promise that they would not be charged with the murders themselves. These witnesses had obvious reasons to lie, shifting blame and responsibility to Allen in order to protect themselves. At different times since the trial, each of these witnesses has admitted to lying at trial.

The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice has been established to study exactly these kinds of flaws in California's system of capital punishment. The Justice Commission must report its recommendations to the Governor and Legislature by Dec. 31, 2007. No one should be executed while the Justice Commission is conducting this in-depth study.

Informant: Alice Kim


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Januar 2006

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