death penalty news----TEXAS----petition for Dominique Green
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Jul 7 15:16:38 CDT 2004
Please spread this petition widely. As you know, Dominique has a date in
Oct. 26. Please help him.
To: Texas Gov. Rick Perry
JUSTICE FOR DOMINIQUE GREEN
Dominique Green is a 28-year-old African-American who is nearing the end of
his appeals on Texas' Death Row. We believe that after a review of the
facts of the case, you, like us, will see racism and a flawed legal system
prevented justice from being done in Dominique's case.
Dominique came of age as an unloved African-American young man, as poor in
spirit as he was in material wealth. Both parents were alcoholics and his
father was addicted to marijuana. His mother was mentally ill and tortured
and abused Dominique and his younger brothers.
To save his fragile brothers, Dominique took their punishment. He also took
one brother to a homeless shelter where they both lived to avoid the
constant abuse at home. At age 15, Dominique and his brother Marlin were
thrown out of their house by their mother. Dominique rented a storage shed
where they both lived, and sold drugs to support Marlin and himself.
One evening in 1992, when Dominique was 18 years old, he allegedly went out
with a group of three men whom he knew. They were said to have robbed peopl=
at gunpoint. One man, Anthony Lastrapes, was killed by a single shot to
the chest. There were no eyewitnesses or scientific evidence to indicate
that Dominique participated in this crime, but at the trial the other young
men testified against Dominique. In return, the State dropped its capital
murder charges against them. Dominique told the police he was there but
insisted that he did not commit the murder.
Two of the other men, the black men, went to prison, while the white man wh=
admitted being present at the murder and sharing in the proceeds from the
robberies was not indicted or prosecuted at all. Indeed, the State of Texas
now will not let this man speak to anyone about the case, even though he wa=
never charged at all. This all occurred in Houston, a part of Harris County=
Texas, a place that has sent more inmates to their executions than 47
states and has thus gained the name of the "Death Penalty Capital of the
During the sentencing phase of the trial - when the jury was determining
whether Dominique should live or die - his court-appointed lawyer chose
psychologist Dr. Walter Quijano to testify in defense. To analyze
Dominique's future dangerousness, Dr. Quijano took into account the fact
that Dominique is African-American. He did not however, share this bias
with the jury.
Recently, the Supreme Court overturned the Death Sentence of Victor Saldano
after former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn admitted error because Dr.
Quijano testified in a similar capacity saying Mr. Saldano was more likely
to be violent because he was Hispanic.
In Dominique's case, Dr. Quijano told the jury that Dominique never
developed a normal conscience and would be a danger to society if he were
Since then, two psychiatrists and one psychologist say that he would not be
a danger if allowed to live in a structured setting.
Racism again infected this phase of the trial when the prosecution construe=
the words of a rap song to be his own. While Dominique was locked up
awaiting trial, he wrote a letter to a friend. At the end of the letter he
quoted a rap song with the words "trigga happy nigga." Dominique, who
was only 18 at the time, meant this as a tongue-in-cheek reference to how
he thought the police saw him, not to any future plans.
The jury, which had no African-Americans on it, was not informed the phrase
was from a song. The prosecution argued Dominique should be executed becaus=
he is a "trigger-happy nigger" even though he had no prior convictions for
violent crime and only one shot was fired after an apparent struggle where
the victim pulled out a knife.
The judge in Dominique=E2=80=99s case, Judge Shaver, appointed the defense
counsels to represent Dominique even though neither one had ever
principally represented a defendant charged with the death penalty. In
fact, the only other capital case the defense counsel had worked on was
the infamous "sleeping lawyer" case that also was before Judge Shaver,
who afterward remarked to the Los Angeles times "The Constitution entitles
you to a lawyer. It doesn't say that the lawyer has to be awake."
While this may seem like a comedy of errors, unfortunately in Harris County
this comedy is performed routinely. No matter what view you have of the
Death Penalty, all must agree that those facing the ultimate punishment
should receive a fair trial, free of racism and incompetent counsel.
Since being convicted, Dominique has grown and matured dramatically, making
one wonder just what the state will achieve by executing him. He has helped
numerous other inmates to survive the torturous nature of Death Row and has
submitted his engaging artwork and poetry in various exhibits around the
country and world.
We hope you will find the space in your life to support Dominique as he
fights for his life.
More information about the DeathPenalty