PRESS RELEASE -RE Robert Garza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Clemency urged for Texas man facing execution and sentenced under the Law of Parties.

 

 

Livingston, Texas – August 20, 2013 A man who did not kill the victims, Robert Gene Garza, is scheduled to be executed in Texas on September 19th, 2013. On January 24, 2003, at the age of 20, Robert Garza was arrested and charged with the September 4, 2002 murders of María de la Luz Bazaldúa Cobarrubias, Danitzene Lizeth Vázquez Beltrán, Celina Linares Sánchez and Lourdes Yesenia Araujo Torres. In December of that same year he was convicted and sentenced to death under the Law of Parties although he was not present at the murders and no physical evidence ties him to this crime.  The fact is he was simply nearby.  He has always maintained that he did not kill anyone murdered in this crime. The physical evidence and witness testimony support this claim.

 

Robert Garza hasn’t murdered anyone and no one else was ever prosecuted or convicted in this Law of Parties case. As he recently indicated: “I’m sentenced to death under the Law of Parties and in my case even the District Attorney admits that they don’t even know who did the actual killings. I did not do it. Because I am here on the Law of Parties.  Questions should arise as to ‘Who and Where is the Party?’ I’m the only one convicted in this Law of Parties case. This issue is known by the D.A. and the Judge.  My lawyers never even brought the issues up at my trial or in my appeals.”

 

In a similar Law of Parties case in 2007, the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, commuted the sentence of Kenneth Foster to life after the recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Governor Perry recently announced that he will not seek another term in 2014 leaving the door open for him to run again for the White House in spite of the lack of success of his previous campaign.

 

Will Robert Garza die because of others’ political ambitions?

 

It is certainly morally wrong that the death penalty would be imposed on someone that did not cause death. While the concept of being criminally responsible for the conduct of another is a familiar legal concept, Texas stands apart on the application of this peculiarly formulated law. In fact, Texas prosecutors, and the Courts, are dangerously abusing it and Texas is the only State in the country to apply it to capital cases. The Texas Penal Code including the Law of Parties Statute was written in 1973 and became effective the following year. Since 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court has tackled this Statute a couple of times and so far with conflicting results.

 

So why is Robert Garza still on death row and scheduled for execution on September 19, 2013?

 

There are many reasons. Robert Garza’s case has been plagued with serious issues, caused by ineffectual court-appointed attorneys and the injustice of the Texas judicial system.

 

* Insufficient evidence to prove the anticipation of the murders

* Suppression and misinterpretation of mitigating evidence

* Community and political pressure to solve the case

* The imposition of the death penalty on a non-triggerman under the Texas Law of Parties

* Claims of racial discrimination

* Coerced confession and rights violation

* Inadequate legal representation at trial and on appeals

* Judicial and prosecutorial misconduct

 

This case highlights the inadequacies and prejudice of the Justice System and in particular the injustice that the poorer members of ethnic minorities receive in our society.

 

On February 19, 2013, Mr. Garza’s last appeal was denied by the Supreme Court. He is now at the end of the appeals process with only the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry remaining as a last recourse to commute his sentence or grant him a stay.

 

 

Robert Garza has long expressed deep remorse for the deaths of the women and for the pain experienced by their families. He was 20-years old at the time the crime was committed. Now a mature 31-year old man, he genuinely regrets the choices he has made and the path he has taken as a teenager.  He fully realizes the horrors that the gang lifestyle brought to his own family and his community. Since his incarceration, Robert Garza has endeavoured to become a better person, to improve himself and help others. He has long renounced the gang life-style he was involved in as a teenager and has even helped and counselled inmates to not get involved in prison gangs. He has a supportive, loving family and would appreciate being granted mercy so that he can help raise his children. Robert desperately needs assistance before it is too late to save his life.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS:

 

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible in your own words:

 

* including Robert Gene Garza’s name and inmate number, #999466 in the subject;

* expressing sympathy for the families of María de la Luz Bazaldúa Cobarrubias, Danitzene Lizeth Vázquez Beltrán, Celina Linares Sánchez and Lourdes Yesenia Araujo Torres, and explaining that you are not seeking to excuse the manner of their deaths or to downplay the suffering it caused;

* expressing concerns at the use of the law of parties in this case;

* noting that there is no other Party in this case.

* stating that the death sentence is disproportional since his co-defendants were not sentenced. Clemency should be granted because a disparity exists between Robert Garza, who was not the triggerman, being given a death sentence and no one else involved was even prosecuted or convicted. Of the 6 people that were originally charged in this crime he is the only one convicted and he was not the shooter;

* mentioning the issues previously stated;

* and calling for Robert Garza to be granted clemency as an act of justice and as an act of mercy.

 

SEND TO:

 

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles

Attn: Executive Clemency Section

8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard

Austin, TX  78757 Email: bpp-pio@tdcj.state.tx.us

 

 

OTHER ACTIONS:

 

Call Governor Rick Perry at 512-463-2000 to urge him to issue a stay of execution for Robert Gene Garza, #999466, and tell him that no one should be executed under the Law of Parties.

Email Governor Perry’s Office http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/

 

For more information and details of Robert Gene Garza’s case please contact us at:

 

Contact –  Rosa Fishbone Email – Garza999466@gmail.com

 

Contact –  Mary Ellen Felps, Attorney Email – mfelps@descendingeagles.org

 

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