Brent Brewer is scheduled to be executed in Texas on November 9, 2023. His 1991 death sentence was overturned in 2007, but he was resentenced to death in 2009. In 1991 and again in 2009, the prosecution relied on unscientific and unreliable, but influential, testimony of a psychiatrist who asserted that Brent Brewer would likely commit future acts of violence, a prerequisite for a death sentence in Texas. Nineteen years old at the time of the crime, Brent Brewer is now 53. He has been an exemplary prisoner, with no record of violence during his three decades on death row.
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Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
P.O. Box 13401, Austin, Texas 78711-3401, USA
Email: [email protected]
Dear Board Member,
Brent Ray Brewer (TDCJ #999000) is due to be executed on November 9. I am appealing for your intervention.
Brent Brewer is reported to have shown exemplary conduct during his 30 years on death row. At the 1991 trial sentencing, a psychiatrist who never assessed him testified that he would commit future acts of criminal violence if allowed to live. The same psychiatrist made the same prediction based on the same methodology at the 2009 resentencing. This kind of “expert” testimony, influential on juries, had long been discredited within the profession, including by the American Psychiatric Association.
I am concerned about the adequacy of the legal representation that Brent Brewer received at the 2009 resentencing. In a similar case, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the trial judge should not have allowed the testimony of this same psychiatrist because his methodology was so unreliable. Brent Brewer’s lawyers did not challenge the physiatrist’s testimony’s admissibility at trial, so the matter was not preserved for appeal. The defense lawyers also failed to present a comprehensive case about Mr. Brewer’s background that may have altered the sentencing decision.
The US Supreme Court has said that the finality of the death sentence creates a “qualitative difference” between the death penalty and other punishments, creating “a corresponding difference in the need for reliability in the determination that death is the appropriate punishment in a specific case”. Without the unscientific, unreliable future dangerousness testimony, and with a full mitigation picture, the jury’s decision may have been different.
Please recommend to Governor Abbott that he commute the death sentence of Brent Brewer.