Amnesty International members around the world are making a plea for Texas Governor Greg Abbott to grant clemency to Rodney Reed and stop his and any further executions. For several weeks, Amnesty International members worldwide have written to the governor’s office to raise concerns about Rodney Reed’s case prior to his scheduled execution date on November 20, highlighting that forensic experts dispute the time of death as stated at trial, questioning the timeline implicating Reed, and pointing to the fact that Texas courts have repeatedly denied requests for DNA testing of key evidence.
International safeguards guaranteeing the rights of those facing the death penalty state that this punishment may be imposed only when the guilt of the person charged is based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts. The recent information that has come to light raises serious doubts about the case and must be explored further.
The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, and that is why Amnesty International opposes it in all cases, and works to abolish it globally.
“The death penalty is applied disproportionally against people of color, and Rodney Reed’s case is a glaring example,” said Kristina Roth, the senior program officer for Criminal Justice Programs at Amnesty International USA. “In the midst of a case where doubt is cast on both the evidence and the explanations provided, it is deeply disturbing that a consensual intimate relationship between Rodney Reed, a black man and Stacey Stites, a white woman, was conflated with an act of violence leading to Rodney Reed being found guilty of Stacey Stites murder by an all-white jury. Killing a person creates a murderer out of the executioner, is not justice for Stacey Stites, and deprives Rodney Reed of dignity and humanity: this – and every — execution is a cruel, inhuman and degrading violation.”
Background and context:
Amnesty International has campaigned on Reed’s behalf since 2015, when Rodney Reed was last issued a stay of execution. In September, Amnesty International USA’s student group in Austin held a rally with Rodney Reed’s family, calling for clemency on his behalf.