Friday, August 31, 2007

A Message From the Fosters

Dear Friends, Family and supporters,

Oh my God, where to start. We are estatic, overwhelmed and full of smiles!
Finally the Death row nightmare is over, no more seeing him from
behind glass- soon we will be able to hug him. Nydesha will be able
to hug him :-)

Without all the hard work from all of you- it would have not been
possible. You guys worked around the clock, made the calls, wrote the
letters, marched with us, signed petitions, helped us organize,
contacted the media and made this cross bareable for us.

We thank God for having you all. We won guys- and all because of the
fantastic team work!!!!!

We love you all!

Tasha & Kenneth
Kenneth Sr & Lawrence


raybblin said...

Congratulations and Blessings to Kenneth and the family.

I am so happy to have read today in the free paper here in NYC about his clemency, with a picture of his father, Kenneth Sr. smiling happily about the news. No other paper here in NY covered the INCREDIBLE GOOD NEWS.

I will make sure to spread the word here in New York that the Campaign to Save Kenneth Foster is a overwhelming VICTORY for the family and for all people victimized by the unjust and racist institutions/society/politics/culture to fuel their greed for power.

I heard about his case from the letter he sent to the Welfare Poets asking for help in publicizing his plight two years ago. I am so proud that the collective effort was not in vain, and that Kenneth should be so proud for his conduct and his true committment towards self-determination.

Congratulations again. True blessings.

In peace, justice, and solidarity,
Raybblin Vargas
Washington Heights, NYC
P'alante Siempre P'alante

Ricky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ricky said...

Can we get an apology to the LaHood family for re-opening these horrible wounds? It's the least you could do. This may be good for you, but your son still killed a man and his family is seeking justice.

Chris said...

Great news. My family is celebrating with the Foster family tonight!

marie said...

We are so happy!
Marie (Paris, Franc)

vince said...

To ricky : death penalty is NOT justice. You may call it vengeance, but NOT justice.
Then, as you should know before writing your same stupid arguments : Kenneth DID NOT kill a man.
I'm scared by people like you who are seeking vengeance... Being so hateful is not normal.
You really need some education on a humanistic point of view...

Francesca said...

rick, didn't you follow kenneth's story? he has been declared innocent, and was in the death row only because of that stupid law of parties... get informed before accusing,ignorance is the worst of beasts to defeat!

a very bug hug to the foster family,i'm so happy for you guys!!

peter said...

I.Am very happy too. In the Netherlands Kenneth would be a free man seven years ago and would have been charged only for the previous robberies. I would be even more pleased when miss Keller takes her responsibility and step down. Because as long this lady holds here position at the CCA many more Kenneths and others will die.


JOSE LUIS said...



Ricky said...

The death penalth is, in fact, justice. The best form of it, in my opinion.

I have nothing against people who oppose the death penalty and maybe, someday, one of them will convince me that I am wrong. It will not; however, happen from name calling and insults, but it is to be expected in this forum which is rightfully bias towards my views. This is, afterall, an anti-death penalty forum.

Yesterday, I read an article on Democracy Now which was entitled: "The Case of Kenneth Foster: Texas Prepares to Execute Man for Driving a Car Near Scene of Murder." This is the type of propaganda that prevents me from understanding the anti-death penalty movement. That headline is a lie. He was not "near" the scene of a murder. He was involved in a murder. He was not involved in a simple armed robbery. He was involved in an armed robbery in which the victim was murdered.

Simple. To the point. And, bottom line.

Sarah C said...

To Kennys family - You are very welcome. I am in the UK and various friends have told me to take a break.3 executions in 3 days was really taking it out on me, as I am sure it was for all. But the commutation has boosted my spirit. I am still shouting!
I will support the death penalty when it can be proven there are no mistakes, no racism, no miscarriages of justice, no errors and we have a better say than God.
Prove that to me, and I'll support you.
Over to you Ricky.

Sarah C said...

Incidentally, I've Emailed Ricky he has not responded.

Anna said...

Kenneth, I am so happy :) you are alive! Congratulations! And greetings to your fantastic family and friends and all supporters!

The next step would be to get you out of the prison because that's not the place where you should be. You have not killed anybody, you have not been anybody's partner in killing a man, you have not planned to do so. You should have a new and fair trial. That's the least what the authorities could now do for you after keeping you for years in this death row hell. You have more than expiated you crimes. Also in Finland, as Peter says is the case in the Netherlands, you would have been a free man years ago and would have been charged only for the robberies.

I really can't understand this 'eys and teeth' thing which so many people seem to consider the same as 'justice'. That's the Code of Hammurabi, that's Sharia law! How can any modern western human being believe in this kind of 'justice'. Death penalty is wrong and incarcerating people for life is wrong. For instance, in Finland a lifetime sentence means 12 years in prison after which the case goes before the Court of Appeal etc. and depending on the seriousness of your crime you can be paroled, or, kept further in the prison.

Prince Myshkin in The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky says: "I believe that to execute a man for murder is to punish him immeasurably more dreadfully than is equivalent to his crime. A murder by sentence is far more dreadful than a murder committed by a criminal." ( And Mr. Dostoyevsky knows what he's writing. In 1849 he, along with the other members of a liberal, intellectual group, was sentenced to death. After a mock execution, in which he and other members of the group stood outside in freezing weather waiting to be shot by a firing squad, Dostoyevsky's sentence was commuted to four years of exile with hard labor at a katorga prison camp in Omsk, Siberia.

We all can make a change, and that's a fantastic feeling! Let's continue…

Francesca said...

to ricky: kenneth was involved in that murder because of his friend, who in fact was sentenced to death and executed last year. It wasn't kenneth who killed that man,so he should pay for his involvement in the crime but not with death. THIS if you think death penalty is JUSTICE. But the truth is that it isn't justice..death penalty is VENGEANCE and I could understand it being applied in very poor countries or where there's no culture,no sense of religion...but in a christian country this is a total paradox, let me tell you...

AGAIN, my best wishes to Kenneth and his family!! Let's stop criticiziing everything,please!

ps: to those who think like me, come and check my new anti-death penalty website

Ricky said...

Sarah C.: I haven't responded because I was at work. LOL! Unfortunately, I have to take a break to earn the money to pay the internet bill.

I received your questions and, while i will answer them, I am confused as to what their relevance is to the issue.

I am single, no children. The question that does pertain to the issue; however, it wasn't phrased as a question was that you hoped I "play it straight." I suppose you mean, staying out of trouble, maybe For 29 years I have not committed a crime (other than the occasional speeding and things of that nature).

Opinionated at 29? I know some 20 year-olds that are pretty opinionated when it comes to certain issues.

My father was the victim of a murder. He was assaulted at the hands of two individuals and suffered a heart attack as a result. That's murder. But, of course, there are those that say that suffering a heart attack during an assault is not murder. I don't get it; however, the point is that everyone has reasons for being opinionated and this is my reason for being opinionated regarding crime and the death penalty.

Now, a post on my blog brought up an interesting point. And it was well written and without the "jagoff" or other insults. This comment stated that this was a win for both sides because the controversy of executing a man under the law of parties would have hurt the pro-death penalty movement because it was so controversial. I can possibly be swayed to this way of thinking because this would have been used to justify halting all executions and I think this country is far from that. Kenneth Foster was involved in an armed robbery that resulted in a murder. Now whether his involvement was as simple as a driver in the get-away-car or if he pulled the trigger, he was still involved and that's the bottom line. That's murder.

The law of parties is a good law. It prevents people from being involved in a criminal act, yet walk away with only a slap on the wrist because they didn't actually commit the crime. What about the people that hire someone to kill someone and the murder is commited. They are guilty of conspiracy to committ murder by some's way of thinking; however, their actions still resulted in murder. They are a murderer, as well.

The hard work of the Foster family paid off. There is no doubt. Proof positive that the government listens to the people. I don't blame them for trying, if they feel strongly about it and they obviously did. But to say he should be free, I don't think so. That's taking it further than it should have been taken.

peter said...

Hello Ricky,
On this site there is a party going on. Since 1982 you had over 400 parties! So don't spoil this one because we seldom have a party!Besides that: we together are going to rob a bank, you drive the car and I go inside. You could never imagine that I could kill somebody but this time it went terribly wrong and I (against all expectations)shot somebody. It was not your intention to kill somebody. But you will go to the death-chamber anyway and the only reason for that is because there was perhaps a slight possibility that things could go wrong and as you did not anticipate (forsee) this miniscule possibility you have to die. You really think that's justice. Come on give me a brake. You cannot be serious.

peter said...

In Thailand, when you have an road accident and you are a foreigner you are always quilty. Because when you were not there the accident would not have happened! That's a kind of logic I can't keep up with.The same logic was put into practice in Kenneths case.And that is not what the Law of Parties was meant for. This law was in Kenneths case abused.

William Van Poyck said...

William Van Poyck said...
My brother, Wiliam Van Poyck, received the death penalty in Florida for a murder he did not commit, either. He was with someone who shot a guard in a botched attempt to free a prisoner form a transport van. He had no intention of anyone getting hurt, much less shot, and William's case was very much like Kenneth's. We are so overwhelmed with joy that Kenneth's life has been spared and I believe my brother will also get off death row through a similar miracle. My brother has a blog also: Enjoy your contact visits with Kenneth!!!!! Give him a big hug from me and my brother!! ~ Lisa & William Van Poyck

September 2, 2007 6:37 AM

Jeremy said...

I'm so happy for you guys. Thank God the right thing took place. God Bless you all!

Ricky said...

Peter: If that scenerio took place, I would be guilty of murder. Now, let us look at it this way. If there was no gun, and we robbed a bank, and someone was still killed then I could see the argument. Same thing in Foster's case. If they had been committing armed robberies and were telling people "I have a gun" and really didn't and someone was murdered, I could see the argument that he didn't really anticipate someone being killed. The argument doesn't make sense to me because the probability of a death occurring was high with that gun being involved in those robberies. If they never planned on killing anyone, why have the gun? He was driving? Why not just stop the car and say "get out." Because, he was having his fun, too.

Eric_1920 said...

Aside from feeling there’s a pointless dispute going on here when there shouldn't and a level of disrespect taking place by choosing to lambaste a victory and celebration for a movement that has prevailed, I'll add my two cents for whatever its worth.

Being an advocate for the death penalty under the pretense of having suffered a loss of a loved one due to murder is understandable but hypocritical. The loss of one life in return for another doesn't bring any closure to anything and only furthers suffering, be it on one side or the other. It is a false belief to think otherwise, a pathology of the mind that must be cleansed through forgiveness and compassion.

I do not speak out of ignorance here for I too lost an Aunt who was bludgeoned to death in a robbery who was like a mother and watched her three daughters grow up orphans of the state of Texas. These three and myself have felt great pain from her loss but have thru time come to understand that an eye for an eye truly does leave everyone blind and doesn’t change a thing. This is awareness, and with that comes peace. To think otherwise is to deceive yourself into thinking that retribution the veil of vengeance will offer peace, but this is nothing more then a trick or a lie to yourself in thinking that the only way I can have peace is thru the death of the individual responsible for my loved ones murder, directly, or in this case indirectly. A psychological band aide(with the wound still festering beneath) that fools yourself into believing that closure has been met but maybe you should ask yourself, is there a way I can or could have found peace that didn’t or doesn’t involve continuing a pattern of suffering? If your answer is no, then I’m sorry but it is you that is blinded by your selfishness from your loss that can justify killing another and not see an alternative and it’s you that needs healing from within.

Things are not black and white; there are many shades of grey and to insist that Mr. Foster is just as guilty as Mr. Brown in La Hood’s murder is looking at things very narrowly. If it’s accountability you seek, then maybe you should think of the cultural and socio-economic/environmental conditioning that fostered the reality and programming Mr. Foster was in when he was the person who was in the driver’s seat the night of La Hoods murder and direct your accountability towards improving those conditions in a more positive way. Who Kenneth Foster is now is someone very different than who he was then, call it an assumption but I think his actions speak otherwise. Call it self preservation that brought this change, maybe so but he it seems is in search of redemption on whatever level and he will have the remainder of his life to try and find it and fight for what he feels is right and who are you to challenge that. If you’re going to judge anyone, judge yourself and judge your beliefs that you hold so true. As they say “Let he who is without sin hurl the first stone” and there is absolutely nothing that separates you from Kenneth or anyone else aside from your choices, theirs, and whatever social class/environment you or they were born into and the genetic hand you and they were dealt.

I have preached enough and with that all I feel left to say is, please challenge yourself into examining your convictions and why you feel so strongly about them and where they really come from and if you’ve taken this as affront then that is your deal and not mine and I will offer no rebuttal. However if you do then examine that as well and what it is that really makes you so uncomfortable and why your really here venting at people who are jubilant over a real victory and don’t care or wish to share the same views as you. Thanks be to whomever that Kenneth has been spared and that a moment of real justice has prevailed.

Jeff Deskovic said...

Greetings All,

My name is Jeff Deskovic, and I am an exoneree. I served 16 years in prison in NY for a murder and rape which DNA proved that I was innocent of. I was convicted based on a false confession coerced from me following 7 1/2 hours of interrogation when I was 16 years old. I was found guilty despite semen found in the victim which did not match, and despite hair found on the victim which also did not match. Fast forward 15 1/2 years, and The Innocence Project took my case, and obtained the cooperation from the new DA who allowed further testing go on which here predecessor,
Jeanine Pirro would not. They took the DNA and ran it through the DNA database, and it matched the real perpetrator, who subsequently confessed to the police and also to a reporter on video camera. He then pled guilty and was sentenced to 20 years. If I had been 18 when the crime happened and not 16, and all other things happened as they did, I have no doubt that given the brutality of the crime and the atmosphere, I would have received the death penalty. My appeals ran out in 2001, I was not cleared until 2006. That means that I would have been executed, and there would have been no 2006 for Jeffrey Deskovic, and I would not be around to write this. While I agree with all of the traditional arguements against the death penalty, the point which I think that everybody can agree with is that because of the irreversibility of the death sentence, and the flawed nature of the criminal justice system, which has so far, from DNA alone, produced 207 wrongful convictions, the death penalty poses a substanital risk that someone who is innocent will be executed. There have been 123 people exonerated from death row. The scary thing is that this pertains to cases that we know about; what about those in which the truth is not discovered? DNA is only available in 10% of all serious felony cases, and there is no where near the amount of quality legal representation available as compared to those that need it. I think that those numbers only reflect the tip of the iceberg. All of the data that I cited is not proof that the system works: instead it is a glimpse of how broken it is and it highlights the many flaws in it: false confessions, misidentification, snitches that falsly implicate people, poor representation, evidence witholding and prosecutorial misconduct, and lack of evidence preservation.

In regards to Kenneth Foster in particular, I wish to say:
The distinction between someone who was involved in criminal conduct and a murder takes places in that context is different than when a crime spree was over, which it clearly was.

I am so happy for the Foster family, and I am humbled and honored, while also being proud, of the small role I played helping to save Kenneth. I attended a rally in NY for him, then at a later date went with some members of the NY chapter of Campaign To End The Death Penalty to speak to Congressman Rangel. We wound up meeting with his staff, and I attended a press conference afterwards, and I spoke at it. Someone recorded it, and the video of it is on Youtube. Just type in Jeff Deskovic and you can find it.
It is my understanding that my comments also aired on Democracy Now!

When many people band together to do a little, we can do a lot!!! The silence in my case was deafening, and who knows what could have happened had I had support while I was desperately searching for that. My email if anybody would like to email me. I circulate articles that I write through there, and also updates on how I am doing, and where I will be appearing next (I am a professional speaker, who speaks at colleges, high schools, churches, and other community organizations on wrongful convictions and the death penalty_

Fried Catfish said...

Well spoken eric_1920. I would be very interested in hearing Peter's response, since he seems open to evaluating his own opinions. Certainly you address another angle that we often ignore - most victims' families and friends do not report feeling closure once the defendant has been executed. I used to be an advocate of the death penalty, until I learned what an unconstitutional device it is, in every possible respect.