Cooper Granted Temporary Stay of Execution
Protests persist despite favorable legal motion.
February 11, 2004 10:57 AM
The life of condemned killer Kevin Cooper now dangles by one remaining legal thread.
Less than a day before Cooper’s Feb. 10 scheduled execution by lethal injection, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary stay this morning that may block Cooper’s execution. The federal appeals court granted a review of the case by an 11-judge panel.
The ruling breaks a line of legal hurdles faced by Cooper in his appeal efforts. Still, Cameron Sturdevant, a volunteer organizer for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty who has worked with the Save Kevin Cooper campaign for six years, says they are cautiously optimistic.
To that end, the San Leandro activist is helping coordinate a major protest of Cooper’s execution that will start at 6 p.m. tonight with a rally at Remillard Park in Larkspur, to be followed by a march to San Quentin along East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.
Members of SF State's own student body will be on hand at the rally.
“The demonstration is even more important now,” said Kirya Traber, organizer for the International Socialist Organization. “We’re not taking it for granted. We need to keep up the amount of pressure.”
On Jan. 30 anti-death penalty activists, including the SF State's International Socialist Organization, held a spoken word event to raise funds to place an ad in the New York Times and the San Jose Mercury News condemning the execution.
Traber, an SF State sophomore, plans to attend the tonight’s rally, where she expects nearly 500 attendees.
Cooper, who was convicted in 1985 for the slaying death of a San Bernardino family and friend, has maintained his innocence throughout his 19 years on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
At the time, police found Cooper in the house adjacent to the victims’ residence after escaping from the minimum-security Chino State Prison on a burglary conviction. Cooper claims police planted the DNA evidence at the scene which tied him to the crime.
Since then, Cooper’s cause has received wide recognition and support from celebrities and public figures such as actor Danny Glover and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who's expected to speak at tonight's rally.
The state’s death warrant for Cooper is valid from 12:01 Tuesday morning until 12:01 Wednesday morning. If the panel of judges hasn’t made a decision in that span of time, the warrant is void, and the state will have to re-seek another death warrant.
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