January 20, 2012
from The Abolitionist Action Committee
Dorothy Day Catholic Workers Amber Mason & Kevin Mason Among the 14
Activists Arrested at
Anniversary of First Execution
contemporary laws of Gary Gilmore, fourteen members of the
Abolitionist Action Committee were arrested at the U.S. Supreme Court
on Tuesday. Just after 10:00 am, at the exact time that Gilmore was
executed, the group unfurled a 30-foot banner that read “STOP
EXECUTIONS!” on the stairs of the Court. On the sidewalk, a crowd of
well-over 100 supporters, activists and tourists supported and
observed the action.
All fourteen were arrested and appeared the following day before a
judge for arraignment. They were released on personal recognizance
with a charge of violating the federal law (40 U.S.C. 6135) that
forbids "processions or assemblages" and the displaying of banners on
Supreme Court grounds. A status hearing will take place on February
8th, at which time a trial date will be scheduled.
The group included several murder victim family members, family of the
incarcerated, and national leaders in the death penalty abolition
movement. One of the participants who was arrested was Randy Gardner,
whose brother, like Gilmore, was executed in
"My Brother Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed June 18, 2010 by the same
state and by the same method as Gilmore,"
then, and I still believe now, that the death penalty is morally
wrong. I'm here to help abolish the death penalty by protesting in
any shape or form.” And, using Gilmore’s last words, he added, “Let’s
Upon arrest, five of the 14 participants did not carry any
identification with them, and when asked their names by the police,
they simply stated, "I am Troy
Scott Langley, one of those who refused to reveal his true identity
said, "In the wake of Troy
past September, I felt it was necessary to bring the name of
again haunt the court that failed to stop the execution of an innocent
man. I also wanted the name Troy
criminal record as a reminder to myself of what our justice system is
Three of the five men who identified themselves as Troy
released the same day along with the six women who were arrested in
the protest. Two of the men were held overnight in DC's Central Cell
Block because fingerprinting did not reveal their true identities.
The two men, Daniel Flynn and Jon Dunn, were brought before a judge
more than 30 hours after their arrest in leg and arm shackles.
When asked by the judge for their names, they replied, "I was arrested
Flynn and Dunn were released by 5:00 pm on Wednesday to join with the
other 12 who had been released the night before.
Another one of those arrested was Charity Lee, from
young parent herself, her daughter was sexually abused and murdered in
2007 by her son, who is now in prison. In an interview with the San
Antonio Current just before the arrests, Lee said, "In contemporary
point and the First Amendment gives us the right to speak up for what
we believe in. We need to show people in
take a stand for what you believe in — and that if you truly
passionately believe in something enough, you need to put yourself out
Those arrested were Anna Shockley (
of Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (
Jack Payden-Travers (
Since 1997, a total of 48 arrests have been made of people unfurling
banners that read "STOP EXECUTIONS!" on the stairs leading to the
front doors of the
five years, on the January 17 first execution anniversary.
Thirty-five years ago, on January 17, 1977, the State of
death Gary Gilmore, who "volunteered" to be killed in revenge for his
murder of Ben Bushnell and Max Jenson. This state-assisted suicide
was the first execution under the Supreme Court’s upholding of the
death penalty in 1976. Since then, there have been 1277 more
executions, with more than 3200 currently on death rows in 34 states.
The protest is organized by the Abolitionist Action Committee, an
ad-hoc group of individuals committed to highly visible and effective
public education for alternatives to the death penalty through
nonviolent direct action. The Committee also organizes a four day
fast and vigil on the Supreme Court sidewalk, where it is perfectly
legal to demonstrate. The vigil event takes place every June 29
through July 2, and all are invited to participate.
See www.abolition.org for more information on the group's programs and
activities or to make a donation to support the work for abolition.
All funds will be used to help support the trial of the "Supreme Court
14" and the fast and vigil this summer.
Peace & Love,
Amber Mason email@example.com
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
"Don't worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful
to the truth.” - Dorothy Day