Justice for Dominique Green sign now

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 Dominiques 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 people 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 who 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 was 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 World.

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 Dominiques 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 Dominiques case, Dr. Quijano told the jury that Dominique never developed a normal conscience and would be a danger to society if he were to live. 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 construed 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 because 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 Dominiques 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 doesnt 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.

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Jodi RobertsonBy:
LGTBIn:
Petition target:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry

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