State-administered death is always a greater horror than any other by virtue of the methodical reasoning that precedes it. French philosopher Albert Camus wrote that "capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders". "The United States' concept of justifiable homicide/Executions in criminal law stands on the dividing line between an excuse, justification and an exculpation. In other words, it takes a case that would otherwise have been a murder or another crime representing intentional killing, and either excuses or justifies the individual accused from all criminal liability or treats the accused differently from other intentional killers.

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Mr. Willie Shannon 

The state of Texas executed  Willie Marcel Shannon  November 8, 2006

November 17, 2006

Procedural bar

A loophole for the rich, a noose for the poor

By Muenda, Workers World

This article was written before Willie Shannon was executed on Nov. 8. A
lively and angry protest was held outside the death house in Huntsville,
Texas, as Shannon's special friend Regina Schmall and three others witnessed
the execution. Shannon's funeral was held Nov. 11 in Columbus, Texas, where
Shannon grew up. The church was packed with family, friends and the

Shannon had been a member of PURE -Panthers United for Revolutionary
Education-and as requested, was buried with a black beret, a black jacket
and boots. His coffin was covered with a red, green, and black African
Liberation flag. In his hand was a beautiful, simple light blue origami
flower, made by Shannon's comrade and the author of this article. Muenda, a
founder and leader, of PURE Muenda has spent the last 30 years on death row
and continues to be a political influence there.

On Nov. 8, Willie Shannon, a Texas death row prisoner, is slated to die. And
if no authoritative hand intervenes-judge, governor or God-he will be put
down by a law designed specifically to bring finality to death penalty

To keep cases moving through the different layers of appeal, the state
legislators designed a time limitation rule, commonly called procedural bar.
It requires that all legal motions be filed in a timely fashion. Failure to
meet a single deadline bars the defendant from filing anything further. All
rights to appeal are instantly waived-thus the name procedural bar. The
defendant is then executed by default.

To say this rule was put into effect without genuine sentiments, that it was
devised expressly to hang the poor and let loose the rich, is indeed grave
and extreme. It can neither be proven nor disproved. But genuine sentiments
or not, the class that's exclusively affected by this rule is well

In nearly 30 years of reading case law, never once have I come across a case
involving a rich person who had been procedurally barred. Well-paid lawyers
hired by the affluent never, for any reason, miss filing deadlines.

So why is it that the poor and the poor alone, represented by
court-appointed counselors, are consistently hit with the bar?

The answer to this single truth can only be conjectural. But being that it
adversely affects the poor unilaterally and people of color
disproportionately, race and class bias must be considered.

The great American pretense is that we're all one people, representing a
single national interest, with the fairness of democracy extended to all.
But the truth is that democracy is not extended to all, and we do not share
and can never share the same national interest.

As long as we live in a nation where one culture dominates all others; where
there is racial favoritism; where a small few appropriate a disproportionate
amount of the nation's wealth to itself; and where some live inside the
mainstream while others live on the margins, we have no common interest.

When this myth is exposed, we see clearly a country of antagonisms. So why
the myth? What is this supposed national interest, anyway? And, more
important, by whom and against whom is it defended?

A good place to start is with the Republicans and the Democrats. They are
the two controlling parties. When it comes to lawyers, judges, prosecutors
and politicians, nine out of 10 belong to one or the other party. They
control, believe in, and defend the capitalist system. They will tell you
themselves that their values "are American values," that their interests
represent the national interest of the country.

In fact, they are literally offended by things and images perceived to be
uncouth or un-American: saggy pants, rap music, gays, lesbians, Muslims,
poor whites who are considered trash, Chicanos from the barrios, Blacks from
the ghettos, socialists, radicals, and people who protest against the war.

When it comes to officers of the court, a mistaken notion is that defense
lawyers are for you, prosecutors are against you, and judges are neutral.
They are all of the same class and support the system, whether they are
Republican or Democrat, and the greater number of them is conservative.

Therefore, they are unavoidably politically biased, but not necessarily with
malice. They are against crime, as they should be. They are also against all
images stereotyped as criminal, and they shouldn't be.

So when a youngster goes on trial and fits the stereotypical image of a
thug, then nobody in that courtroom wants to see him go free. Not even his

In the event that it's a capital murder case, the lawyer works to get a life
sentence rather than the death penalty. And sometimes they don't even do
that. They miss filing deadlines or fail to preserve their client's right,
which in effect amounts to killing the client themselves.

Again, this is something that could never happen to a person of clout and
station in this country. For this reason, this particular rule of law is a
loophole for the rich and a noose for the poor.

So, come November 8, barring a miracle, another poor man from the working
class will be hanged in Texas.


Source : Workers World


Stop the Execution of Willie Marcel Shannon

To: Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Texas Governor Rick Perry, to whom it may concern



Willie Marcel Shannon was convicted and sentenced to death for the carjacking and murder of Benjamin Garza in November 1993. He has spent 13 years on death row from where he has maintained spiritually uplifting communication with his friends and family.
Mr. Shannon is a person with a peaceful, not a violent nature. He deeply regrets what happened and maintains that he never intended to harm Mr. Garza during the struggle over a gun.

We are concerned because Mr. Shannon did not receive appropriate legal representation. His trial attorney did not call a single witness to his defense, sending even Mr. Shannon’s parents away with the explanation their testimony was not needed.
Another attorney wasted critical time by waiting until the last moment to inform Mr. Shannon that he had to close his death penalty practice, leaving him without any counsel. Neither attorney filed the motions that could have qualified Mr. Shannon for a lesser sentence and, as in many other cases, the Houston crime lab handled DNA samples inappropriately.

Most importantly, we consider it a great injustice that Mr. Shannon’s federal habeas petition was dismissed as time-barred, denying him merits review of his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase of his capital murder trial.
Mr. Shannon never had those claims reviewed by a Federal court.
For many years, he had no choice but to have insufficiently trained court-appointed attorneys speak and file motions on his behalf. It is high time for the State of Texas to provide adequate legal counsel for all, regardless of age, gender or financial status.
On July 21 2006, the judge in a dead silent Harris County courtroom could not hold back tears as he read the death warrant for Mr. Shannon, a valuable human being.

We all have a choice to make by asking ourselves where we stand and what our obligations are as human beings to the rest of humanity.

Our sympathy goes out to the family of Mr. Benjamin Garza and all victims of violent crimes and accidents. They need our enduring love and understanding to help them heal.
We should never forget their pain and sorrow. However, nothing – not even the execution of Mr. Shannon – can bring back the life that was lost. We do not find logic in the idea that by creating another grieving family the needed closure is brought about. We should value all human life, showing sincere love and forgiveness and allowing the possibility of transformation of spirit, which is essential to humanity. The death penalty devalues all human life, is fallible and irrevocable. Over one hundred people have been released from death row on grounds of innocence since its reinstatement in the US. Furthermore, the death penalty is tainted with race and class bias: more than 95% of the over 3,700 sentenced to die could not afford a private attorney and 55% are people of color. Finally, the death penalty is a violation of our most fundamental right.

We, the undersigned, reject capital punishment. We appeal to you to stay Mr. Shannon’s execution and request a review of the issues in his case by the court. We hope that Mr. Shannon will receive a new and fair trial and the possibility of clemency.

If you prefer to write directly to the Board of Pardons and Paroles as well as the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, please sign this petition first and direct letters to the following addresses:

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Executive Clemency Section
P.O. Box 13401, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711

Phone: (512) 406-5852
Fax: (512) 467-0945

Please urge the Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend to the Governor an Executive Clemency for Mr. Shannon as soon as possible.

Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711

Phone: (512) 463-2000
Fax: (512) 463-1849

Urge the Governor to grant clemency with prior recommendation of the majority of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The Governor may issue a one-time 30-day reprieve of execution, and the Governor may require the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to investigate.

Do not execute Willie Marcel Shannon!

The Stop the Execution of Willie Marcel Shannon Petition to Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Texas Governor Rick Perry, to whom it may concern was created by Willie Shannon Support Group and written by Regina Schmahl (



My name is Wille Shannon. I have been on death row for 10 years now. I came a boy, but will leave a man. Before I go any further, let me say this:

Many people are always ready to place blame on others; society, poverty, but never take time to think. No matter what you are faced with, still you have a choice.

We do not endure certain disappointing or troubling experiences during life without a particular reason for each one. If we use the trouble to learn the reason we can conquer the experience and strengthen our character, or we can permit the experience to conquer us and to worsen our character. 

Through many and widely varied experiences we are given the opportunity to build our capacities of thought and judgment, will and intuition. Experiences rightly handled can become effective means for our passing from a lower to a higher standpoint. 

Every experience should be exploited for its lessons, whether it is painful or pleasurable, because you or I don't know God's mind. We seek to be one thing, and life doesn't develop along the lines we have planned, we become confused, filled with emotion I and self doubt creeps in.

Our subconscious connection between wrong done and suffering incurred leads us to feel more uncertain and more uncomfortable, which leads to more self doubt. The wheel of life keeps turning and turning through diverse kinds of experiences and we are haplessly bound to it. But when at last we gain comprehension of what is happening and power over it we are set free. 

We fear what we don't understand, unless we allow ourselves to understand that we have nothing to fear but fear itself, which really is failure. Over time I have asked for understanding, for a chance, but I found myself pleading to man. I am now in contact with the true power of the worId. I have a best friend: God who I lean on, first and foremost.

I failed myself and my God, but I was given the chance and over these years I have come to terms that I am my own worst enemy. I now shall not love only and be concerned for those that show me the same, but for those who treat me badly. I hold no hate inside my heart. There are many that wish me dead thai know nothing of whom I was and who I am now. 

I was always told to treat people how you wanted to be treated. But beware, there will be some that still treat you how they feel you should be treated. 

I have not been perfect in this, nor I will ever be. I will give my best shot at doing as I know and feel is right.

I am now 30 years old. I was born June 12, 1973. I stepped inside the gates of death row at 20 years of age. I was arrested at 19 and one month.

I spend most of my time reading, working out, and writing letters. I try my best to stay in touch with the outside world. This is not my world, nor will I allow it to take over my mind. 

I don't worry about things I can't change, those that I can, I ask for help from my God. He tells me if I am going to pray then not to worry. 

Next, I love nothing in the world any more than I love what I am promised for being faithful to my Lord. This is my focus, my goal.

Yes, I'd love to leave death row because I know I shouldn't be here. These are not just my personal feelings, but the facts of the law.  I'll always fight and Never give up and allow this injustice to go unchallenged. If I did it will happen again to someone else. 

So I must speak out to all that will hear my story, but not lose focus of the overall picture: love myself, love my neighbor, and love my God! And pray for those that do not know me but wish me dead. Those that are in the blind on what true freedom and justice is.

If there is more you wish to know about my case or just American death row,  write and I shall tell you what you wish to know. I warn ahead of time. I will tell no lies, I don't sugar coat anything. If you ask me something, be sure you want to know the real answer. I am very honest. But still I am concerned with others' feelings. But this is one thing that is wrong with the world. People want things fed to them slowly an softIy. If something is harsh. it should be seen as such. You take the true meaning and purpose of things if you don't tell it like it is.

Bye for now. I hope to hear from someone soon.

Willie Shannon

For more information:

Februar 2004 

ws3foto.jpg (78333 Byte)    Mr. Willie Shannon #999086

Polunsky Unit D.R., 3872 FM 350 South
Livingston - Texas  77351, U.S.A.


Mein Name ist Wille Shannon. Ich bin jetzt seit 10 Jahren im Todestrakt.

Ich kam als ein Junge und werde als Mann gehen. Bevor ich weitermache,

lasst mich eines sagen: Viele sind immer bereit, anderswo die Schuld zu suchen; Gesellschaft,

Armut und sich nie die Zeit zu überlegen nehmen. Egal, was dir geschieht, immer hast Du die Wahl.

Wir gehen nicht durch Enttäuschungen oder Probleme im Leben, ohne einen bestimmten Grund.

Wenn wir aus unseren Problemen lernen, werden wir sie besiegen und unseren Charakter stärken,

oder wir können von der Erfahrung besiegt werden und sie unseren Charakter verschlimmern lassen. 

Durch viele und weit gestreute Erlebnisse haben wir die Möglichkeit, unsere Denkfähigkeit,

unser Urteilsvermögen, unseren Willen und unsere Intuition zu entwickeln. Erfahrungen richtig

verarbeitet können auf dem Weg von unten nach oben sehr hilfreich sein. 

Jede Erfahrung sollte als Lehre dienen, ob sie nun schmerzlich oder erfreulich ist,

denn Du oder ich kennen nicht den Willen Gottes. Wir streben danach, eins zu sein,

doch das Leben entwickelt sich manchmal anders als wir geplant haben, und das verwirrt uns

und erfüllt uns mit Gedanken, wo Selbstzweifel sich einschleichen.  

Unsere unterbewusste Verbindung zwischen falschem Handeln und auferlegtem Leid lässt uns

noch unsicherer werden und das führt zu noch mehr Selbstzweifel. Das Leben führt uns weiter

durch die unterschiedlichsten Erfahrungen und wir sind dem hilflos ausgeliefert.

Doch wenn wir am Schluss verstehen, was passiert, werden wir gestärkt und sind frei.

Wir haben Angst vor Dingen, die wir nicht verstehen, sofern wir nicht verstehen,

dass wir einzig und alleine die Angst selbst fürchten müssen,

was in sich selbst Versagen bedeutet. Im Laufe der Zeit habe ich Menschen

um Verständnis gebeten. Aber ich habe festgestellt, dass ich Menschen darum gebeten habe.

Jetzt bin ich in Verbindung mit der wahren Macht der Welt. Ich habe einen

„besten Freund“: Gott, an den ich mich zuerst und immer anlehne.

Ich habe versagt vor mir und meinem Gott, aber ich habe eine Change bekommen.

Und in all den Jahren bemerkte ich, dass ich selbst mein

größter Feind war. Jetzt kann ich nicht nur lieben und Fürsorge tragen für die,

welche mir das selbe entgegenbringen, sondern auch diejenigen, die mich schlecht behandeln.

Ich trage keinen Hass in meinem Herzen. Da gibt es viele, die mir den Tod wünschen,

obwohl sie nicht wissen, wer ich war oder wer ich jetzt bin. Mir wurde immer beigebracht,

Menschen so zu behandeln, wie du selbst behandelt werden möchtest. Aber gibt acht,

es gibt noch genügend Menschen, die dich behandeln, wie sie glauben, dich behandeln zu müssen.  

Ich war bestimmt nicht perfekt und werde es nie sein. Ich werde jedoch mein Bestes geben,

um das Richtige zu tun. 

Ich bin jetzt 30 Jahre alt. Ich wurde am 12. Juni 1973 geboren. Ich bin in die Todeszelle eingetreten,

als ich 20 Jahre alt war. Verhaftet wurde ich mit 19 Jahren und einem Monat. 

Die meiste Zeit verbringe ich mit lesen, trainieren und Briefe schreiben. Ich versuche alles um mit

der Außenwelt in Verbindung zu bleiben. Sie ist nicht meine Welt und auch werde ich das in meinen

Gedanken nicht zulassen. Ich mache mir keine Gedanken über Dinge, die ich nicht ändern kann,

doch bei den veränderbaren Dingen erbitte ich Hilfe von meinem Gott. Wenn ich bete, sagt er mir,

dass ich mir keine Sorgen zu machen brauche. Weiterhin liebe ich nichts mehr als was mir

versprochen wurde, wenn ich meinem Gott treu bleibe. Darauf konzentriere ich mich,

das ist mein Ziel.


Ja, ich würde so gerne aus dem Todestrakt kommen, denn ich weiß, ich sollte nicht hier sein.

Das sind nicht nur meine persönlichen Gedanken, sondern die Fakten des Gesetzes. Ich werde immer

kämpfen und NIE aufgeben um die Ungerechtigkeit ungesühnt zuzulassen. Denn wenn ich es zuließe,

könnte es anderen ebenso passieren. Also muss ich es all denen erzählen,

die meine Geschichte hören wollen, und dennoch nicht mein Ziel aus den Augen verlieren:

liebe Dich selbst, liebe meinen Nachbarn, und liebe meinen Gott! Und bete für die,

die mich nicht kennen, aber mir den Tod wünschen.

Die mit verbundenen Augen, die nicht sehen, was wahre Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit bedeutet.


Wenn du mehr über meinen Fall oder auch den Amerikanischen Todestrakt erfahren möchtest,

schreibe einfach, und ich werde es Dir erzählen. Ich warne vorab, dass ich nicht lügen werde,

ich werde nichts beschönigen. Ich bin sehr ehrlich. Dennoch bin ich um die Gefühle anderer besorgt.

Doch eines stimmt nicht mit unserer Welt. Menschen möchten die Dinge langsam

und sanft präsentiert bekommen. Wenn etwas jedoch barsch ist, sollte man es auch so

wiedergegeben werden. Du nimmst den wahren Sinn aus den Dingen,

wenn du sie nicht richtig erzählst.

Vorerst verabschiede ich mich. Ich hoffe bald von jemandem zu hören. 

Willie Shannon



" Committed to the Fight for HumanRights"

" Dem Kampf um Menschenrechte gewidmet "

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