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Esther Brown on behalf of Derrick Mason

Dear Governor Bentley,


I am writing to ask you to stop the execution of Derrick O’Neal Mason, scheduled to be carried out on September 22, 2011. As I am quite sure you understand from knowing the background of this case, the Cory Maples case which will be heard on October 4th by the U.S. Supreme Court has an issue similar to Derrick Mason. A positive ruling would affect his case.


This issue is significant for our state because we stand alone in failing to provide counsel or any legal assistance for indigent death row inmates. Pro-bono attorneys, if they are fortunate enough to have one, usually practice far from Alabama. Is this justice, or justice Alabama style?


We understand that you have the out, like those in office before you, to point to the law of our state. I would like to respectfully say to you, as I said to them, that slavery was also the law in Alabama, which I know you will agree, did not make it right. Furthermore, current Alabama law gives a governor the right and privilege to grant clemency and to commute a death sentence to life. In this case a simple stay to await the U.S. Supreme Court ruling is all that is asked.


With this fourth execution on your watch you have been once more given the awesome challenge of saying no to vengeance, no to state killing. I am praying that in the mandate given to us as Christians to love one another and to not seek vengeance, and in the oath you took as a physician to do no harm you will find the strength to halt all executions in this state, which has such a bloody history.


Thank you for your consideration of this request.


Sincerely yours,


Esther Brown, Executive Director of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty                                                 Chair of the Death Penalty Moratorium Committee of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP