#FreeMelissaLucio: Innocent Woman on Death Row in Texas
Cameron County DA Luis Saenz
It's Not Good Enough. FREE HER NOW!
Visit FreeMelissaLucio.org for additional information and action opportunities.
BACKGROUND (Previous to April 25, 2022):
Melissa Lucio has spent nearly 15 years on death row for the alleged murder of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah. In 2008, Lucio became the first Latina woman sentenced to death in Texas.
- Read the Clemency Petition here.
- Read the Supplemental Clemency Petition here.
- Listen to the Wrongful Convictions Podcast on this case.
- Read the brief filed in August by the Innocence Project & a coalition of former prosecutors and anti-violence organizations in support of Melissa Lucio.
- And on January 28, 2022, the Innocence Project officially went online with the case.
On Monday, October 18, 2021, the US Supreme Court DECLINED to consider this case. Melissa is now scheduled to be executed on April 27, 2022.
In July, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a Texas court ruling and found Lucio’s right to a “complete defense” had been violated in her original trial. In February, 2021, a sharply divided court of appeals reversed the 2019 grant of relief by a vote of 10 to 7.
- Lucio’s lawyers have contested the cause of death, presenting expert testimony from a neurosurgeon that Mariah may instead have died from head trauma caused by falling down a flight of stairs - fall that was witnessed by Melissa’s children.
- Lucio’s original lawyer did not call any of her children as witnesses, including the ones who saw Mariah fall down the stairs. What’s more, he willingly ignored evidence that another child had admitted being abusive to Mariah. Right after the trial, he became a Cameron County prosecutor, and he remains employed there as a prosecutor.
- Raw footage shows the interrogation, which lasted almost seven hours on the night of Mariah’s death, to be clearly coercive.
- Dr. John Pinkerman, a psychologist, and Norma Villanueva, a mitigation specialist, hoped to testify that Lucio was susceptible to making a false confession during a coercive investigation. They were both barred by the trial court from testifying as to her innocence at the guilt/innocence phase of her trial.
- Armando Villalobos, the district attorney who prosecuted Lucio’s case, was convicted of bribery and extortion in 2014 for accepting over $100,000 in exchange for favorable outcomes in criminal trials. He is now serving a 13 year sentence in prison. He was known to bribe judges and lawyers and was suspected of using Melissa’s case to be re-elected.
Please sign this petition asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to watch The State of Texas vs. Melissa and to recommend that Governor Greg Abbott grant clemency to Melissa Lucio.
For more information on Lucio’s case:
Documentary Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wn4J8lQcNc
ADDITIONAL PROCESS INFORMATION
Petitions will be delivered on your behalf at appropriate moments in the coming weeks, and in advance of Melissa's clemency hearing.
Additionally, you may also contact the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org and the Governor at https://gov.texas.gov/contact/ and (512) 463-1782. You can simply leave a voice message, or choose to speak to a representative if you prefer.
Please note: In Texas, the Governor has 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.
Cameron County DA Luis Saenz
From: [Your Name]
We are writing to ask that you to return Melissa Lucio to Cameron County, drop the charges against her, and FREE HER IMMEDIATELY.