Sunday, April 08, 2007

Rissie Owens, Presiding Officer

Board of Pardons and Paroles, Executive Clemency Section
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, TX 78757, USA
Fax: 1 512 463 8120

Dear Ms Owens,

My name is Timothy Schwinghamer. I am a graduate student at the University of Manitoba. I am contacting you because I am very concerned by the imminent execution of James Clark (inmate no. 999095), scheduled for April 11th in Texas. James Clark was sentenced to death in May 1994 for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Shari Catherine Crews in June 1993. James Clark is retarded.

In 2002, in Atkins v Virginia, the US Supreme Court outlawed the execution of people with retardation. In an assessment in April 2003, clinical psychologist Dr. George Denkowski, hired by the state, concluded that James Clark had retardation. He assessed Clark’s IQ at 65 and concluded that he had adaptive skill deficits in three areas: health and safety, social, and work. Dr. Denis Keyes concluded also that James Clark has retardation (and an IQ of 68). He noted that Dr Denkowski’s findings in Clark’s case were credible and correct. Dr. Denkowski and Dr. Keyes conducted thorough assessments, and ruled out malingering.

I am concerned that Texas has still not enacted legislation to comply with the Atkins ruling, and decisions on mental retardation are being made on the basis of temporary judicial guidelines formulated by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which has expressed concern at the lack of legislative guidance. The assessment of mental retardation is not an exact science, and that in this regard, executive clemency is an important failsafe against error and inconsistency, especially in the absence of legislation. Therefore, I must ask you for clemency for James Clark.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Timothy Schwinghamer
120 Dafoe Road, Box 524B
Winnipeg MB R3T 6B3

Cc: His Excellency David Horton Wilkins, Ambassador for the USA, 207 Bank Street, Suite 418, Ottawa ON K2P 2N2. Fax: (613) 688-3080 / 688-3101

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