Church of the Brethren
DRSP logo 200 DEATH ROW SUPPORT PROJECT
Rachel Gross, Director
P.O. Box 600
Liberty Mills, IN 46946
drsp@brethren.org
www.brethren.org/drsp

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DRSP News, Issue 14, June 2017

By Tara Collum

Florida state attorney Aramis Ayala is set to square off in court against Governor Rick Scott. Ms. Ayala has faced scathing criticism, death threats, and even had a noose sent to her office, in response to her stand against the death penalty. A proposed budget would cut over a million dollars and staff positions from her office, something that would jeopardize public safety and interfere with their important work, which includes a specialized human trafficking task force, and experts on domestic violence prosecution.

Aramis Ayala sued the governor for reassigning murder cases from her office. The Florida Supreme Court will hear the case on June 28. The case will help decide if it is within the rights of a prosecutor to decide not to seek the death penalty, and if a governor has the right to intercede.

The next prisoner scheduled for execution is William Morva. On July 6 the state of Virginia plans to put him to death. Morva’s lawyers argue he is extremely mentally ill, and suffers from a psychotic delusional disorder. The jury who sentenced him to death was not aware of the severity of his illness. Morva’s family is very concerned about his welfare, but they weren’t called as witnesses, so the jury had an incomplete picture of his history. Amnesty International reports that Morva was forced to wear an electro-shock stun belt during his trial, and this could have prejudiced the jury.

Ask Gov. Terry McAuliffe not to execute a mentally ill prisoner. Write to
Governor Terry McAuliffe
Common Ground for Virginia
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond VA 23218, USA
Call the governor’s office at 1 804-786-2211 or email the governor at
https://governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services/communicating-with-the-governors-office/.

Meet a volunteer

In April, we introduced you to Tara Collum, writer of DRSP News, and DRSP Twitter Master. This month, we want you to meet Lois Good. Lois lives four miles from DRSP Director Rachel. For many years, Lois has kept the DRSP files in order, as well as assisting with DRSP correspondence by signing, folding, sealing and stamping letters and postcards. Her eagle eye and perfectionism are welcome gifts. Thank you, Lois!

News from the DRSP office

With 873 new pen pal assignments made so far this year, we are well on our way to another record-breaking year. A letter from Willie (Florida death row) says, “[My pen pal] has given me a measure of peace for the first time since I been on death row.” Thanks to each of you who are making that kind of difference in the life of someone on death row.

We continue to struggle with persons who do not follow through after being sent pen pal requests from prisoners. We count on people who sign up to write; when they don't, prisoners are disappointed and volunteer time is wasted. If you are writing and decide to stop, or change your mind after an assignment, please let us know. Others are waiting. If you have any suggestions for how we can improve the program, contact us at drsp@brethren.org.

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