Amnesty International unconditionally opposes the death penalty. It is considered cruel and unusual punishment, and is a violation of human rights. We work on behalf of those who are on death row who may be innocent of their crimes, or who did not face a fair trial upon sentencing. We do not try to downplay the seriousness of the crimes committed, nor do we believe that every person sentenced to death is innocent of their crime.
This sample death penalty letter is in concern for 40-year-old Bobby Hines, who is due to be executed in Texas on October 24 for a murder committed when he was 19. The jury that sentenced him to death heard no expert mitigation evidence about the impacts of his severely abusive childhood. Call on the state of Texas to halt this execution. If you want to take action on this case, please click the link and do so online. Otherwise, take this sample death penalty letter as a way to use letter writing to bring awareness to our government and representatives about human rights issues.
I am writing to urge you to take all actions necessary to prevent the execution of Bobby Hines (inmate no. #999025) who is scheduled to be put to death in Texas on October 24. There is no doubt the crime he committed was serious, and caused great suffering, but I am concerned that he is being put to death despite a childhood of abuse, poverty, deprivation and neglect, and despite the fact that his sentencing jury never new about the potential effects of that childhood.
As a child, Mr. Hines experienced repeated violent assaults at the hands of his father, and witnessed both his mother and sister being physically and sexually abused. The trauma of this environment was enhanced by a life in poverty featuring frequent periods of hunger and homelessness, and his development may also have been hampered by low intellectual functioning.
In capital cases, the jury is supposed to hear about these kinds of mitigating factors, but Mr. Hines’ jury heard nothing about how such a horrific upbringing might have affected his actions, including the murder he committed at the age of 19. The sentencing phase of his trial lasted only one day.
I believe that with a more complete picture of Bobby Hines’ childhood and its effects on his actions Texas jurors would not have voted for death in this case. As you are responsible for executive clemency, you are in a unique position to step in and prevent this unjust execution, and I urge you to do so without delay.
Thank you for your consideration of this most serious matter.