Stop the Execution of John Hummel in Texas

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles & Governor Greg Abbott

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UPDATE: The outbreak of the coronavirus has prompted the top Texas appeals court to grant a 60-day execution stay. Petitions signatures are still being collected, and will be delivered once a new date is set.

John Hummel was scheduled to die by lethal injection on March 18 in Huntsville, Texas, but it has been delayed until further notice. Hummel was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2009 murders of Joy Hummel and Clyde Bedford.

Hummel, who is an honorably discharged Marine, had no history of violence prior to the murders. At trial, Hummel was represented by Larry Moore, who served as lead counsel. Mr. Moore now works as the head of the Criminal Division for the same District Attorney’s Office that prosecuted Hummel and sought his execution date. Mr. Moore is one step below the elected district attorney. The prosecutors who filed the motion for an order setting the execution date report to Mr. Moore. These circumstances all point to the appearance of impropriety, which is severe when the State seeks death.

Hummel has filed an application for clemency with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in which he asks for the commutation of his death sentence to a lesser penalty or in the alternative, a 120-day reprieve so that he may continue litigating his case. He aims to persuade the Board and Governor Abbott that the evidence does not support the jury’s finding of “future dangerousness.”

Please note: In Texas, the Governor does have limited power when it comes to the death penalty. But the story we are told that "it's out of the governor's hands," is only true if we allow it to be. Yes, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles must recommend clemency in that state in order for the Governor to grant clemency (mercy) by commuting a death sentence. But the fact is that the governor appoints the members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. He can choose to appoint members who will take valid claims and concerns more seriously, instead of acting like rubber-stamping gate-keepers. He can still use his position of power and influence to enact justice in the State of Texas.  

Please sign the petition asking Governor Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to do everything within their power to stop this execution, including issuing a stay, and seeking a path to clemency in the case.

Petitions will be delivered on your behalf at 12:00 pm noon Eastern Time on Monday, March 16th.

Additionally, you may reach out now to the Board at bpp_clemency@tdcj.texas.gov and the Governor at https://gov.texas.gov/contact/ and (512) 463-1782

Sponsored by

To: Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles & Governor Greg Abbott
From: [Your Name]

We are writing to ask that you to stop the March 18th execution of John Hummel, who was convicted of capital murder for the 2009 deaths of Joy Hummel and Clyde Bedford.

Reasons to stop this execution are compelling:

Hummel’s past behavior and mental status did not support a finding of future dangerousness, which is required in order for a jury to impose the death penalty in Texas.

During his incarceration in the Tarrant County Jail from December 31, 2009 until after trial on July 28, 2011, Hummel was classified as “low-risk,” which is highly unusual for inmates charged with a capital offense.

The Tarrant County Sheriff deputies who interacted with Hummel stated that he was always quiet, respectful, pleasant, and never caused trouble with anybody. He complied with all rules and had no disciplinary infractions. The officers believed that Hummel would not be a future danger in prison and would adjust well to a general population setting.

Hummel is an honorably discharged Marine who experienced problems and an inability to cope after his return to civilian life.

Currently, Hummel seeks funding to hire an expert who is uniquely qualified to administer a risk-assessment showing he may not be a future danger. He is asking the Board of Pardons and Paroles for a 120-day reprieve to litigate this issue in federal court.

Hummel also recently filed a motion in state court raising ethical concerns about the conflict of interest surrounding the setting of his execution date and the fact that his trial attorney Mr. Moore is one step below the elected district attorney. Remedying the appearance of impropriety that risks tainting the integrity of the criminal justice system should take precedence over any delay.

Thank you for your time and attention to this very serious and very urgent matter.