Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hall to Governor: Pardon Max Soffar

At Texas Monthly, Michael Hall has published an extended open letter to the governor pleading for executive clemency in the case of Max Soffar, who has "been on death row for a third of a century for a crime I'm certain he did not commit." Soffar has liver cancer and will likely perish before the courts decide his pending habeas corpus writ. Hall urged the governor to allow Soffar to die at home with his family instead of in prison.

RELATED: See an essay on Grits from Texas Southern journalism chair Michael Berryhill about Soffar's case.


Thomas R. Griffith said...

We all know good & well that Perry Inc. will not be issuing a Full Pardon - based on / for innocence regarding: Mr. Soffar. It has nothing to do with Mr. Michael Hall not having the juice to persuade via an Open Letter, it has everything to with Mr. Perry and his owners'.

After reading a sorta recent GFB posting back in Aug. regarding Mr. Soffar and a subsequent heart wrenching comment by Mr. Cook, I decided to contact Mrs. Davis & Mr. Abbott asking if they'd consider ordering their Clemency Section (and Investigators) to perform an emergency Application on his behalf. Or, simply ask Mr. Perry to intervene.

As expected, (Mr. Abbott was too busy to reply) Mrs. Davis and her multitudes of spokespeople ignored the correspondence but had the audacity to launch a never ending email campaign soliciting donations. The creepy part is the first name basis that Wendy and I are now on despite her blatantly ignoring what brought us together in the first place.

I'm asking those with empathy and a beating heart to consider contacting both camps for public statements regarding their emergency plans for Mr. Soffar. It's going to take more than an Open Letter folks, it's going to take public protest, petitions, letter writing campaigns along with some calls to Mr. Perry, if you can find him. (Please put your replies / non-replies here).

I yield to Mr. Cook, you have the floor sir, let 'em have it and please don't hold back, we have a life to save.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Grits, while we await on Mr. Cook to arrive. Since the IPOT made exceptions for the victims of the Galveston dirty drug scandal (waving the Rules as can be seen on the Homepage - "one must have exhausted all appeals") and represented them anyway, with a life on the line, why would they not consider bending the rules again by representing Mr. Soffar in this urgent matter (years ago)?

I'm asking you to ask your boss to do the right thing for the right reason (or ask him to ask the I.P. to overlook the non-DNA aspect). As it is, the cool phrase is forever tarnished and tainted by the very office in which it was utilized as an in house motto by some of the state's worst ADAs. Thanks.

Kerry Cook said...

Kerry Cook said...

To Governor Rick Perry

My name is Kerry Cook and I spent over two decades on Texas death row, wrongfully convicted out of Smith County in a well documented case of police & prosecutorial misconduct legal scholars call the worst example of prosecutorial misconduct in Texas history.

But I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about Max Soffar.

Some of those horrific years were spent either in a two-man cell with Max Soffar, both of us classified “B Status” (or “non-Assaultive”) on the Texas Death Row "Work-Capable" program, or next door to him.

I saw some horrible things on Texas death row. I nearly died at the hands of some pretty scary inmates. I never witnessed Max Soffar hurt anyone and I witnessed about as many attempted murders and murders on death row as I did inmate executions. I was repeatedly raped and abused and at times, forced to live in sexual slavery while on death row because of what I was falsely convicted of. One of the few breaks from it I had was during the time I lived in the cell with Max Soffar. Because I was innocent, Max Soffar put his life on the line to help protect me and keep me safe so I could claw my way out in a legal struggle author John Grisham calls so bad, “If it were fiction no one would believe it.”

Perhaps only other Texas wrongfully convicted ex-inmates such as Anthony Graves, Michael Morton, Earnest Willis, Clarence Brandley and others could appreciate this, but the entire time Max and I shared a cell, he professed his innocence and hope for a new trial and acquittal. When you're sharing a cell and people are being executed right and left - - sometimes two at a time - - (innocent and guilty) you get the truth. So I ask, what would motivate Max to privately maintain innocence in the darkness of a cell with nothing to lose? I mean, I shared the cell with many other inmates on Texas death row and all of them readily admitted their guilt while they fought execution.

Ideologues can post and pontificate their pro-death penalty verbiage denying any/all that Max Soffar and his supporters say. These spin-doctors still won’t change the facts of Max case.

If Max is executed, his case will end up in the same Texas Rogue Prosecutors Hall of Infamy where many others sit today, such as Ricky Guerra, Fred Macias, Cameron Todd Willingham and many others.

Mr. Governor, Attorney General, Harris County Prosecutor, the only other case I ever endorsed and fought to free innocent was the case of Anthony Graves. Now I am fighting for Max Soffar. He is not asking you to vote him innocent. He is simply asking that you allow him to die on the outside with what little dignity he may have left after spending well over 30 years on death row fighting a case Texas prosecutors could never afford to let him win.