LULAC Applauds The Stay Of Execution For Texas Latina Mother Melissa Lucio
Nation’s Largest and Oldest Latino Civil Rights Organization Urges Making Overdue Systemic Changes to Criminal Justice Process
Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) issued the following statement after an announcement by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals staying the execution of 53-year-old Melissa Lucio, the Texas woman on death row for the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Mariah, who died in Harlingen in 2007.
Domingo Garcia - LULAC National President
"LULAC celebrates the stay of execution granted by the criminal appeals court just two days before what would have been one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice in our time. The case of Melissa Lucio illustrates the serious flaws and disparate treatment Latinos confront in our criminal court system. Reforming those inequities is a matter of life and death, literally. We thank the court for its wisdom, especially in light of the questionable nature of the evidence presented against this woman in court, the unethical and illegal actions of the DA who prosecuted her, and the uncertainty expressed by several members of the jury themselves. The death penalty is not the solution. It never has been and never will be."
Analuisa Tapia – LULAC District Director, Killeen, Texas
"Words cannot fully express my joy over this news. Melissa Lucio has been in prison with death hanging over her head for years for a crime she did not commit. However, she lacked legal representation during her initial interrogation, and like many Latinos who tried to cooperate when questioned, her words were wrongly used against her. We must call for a change in the law that the Miranda Act alone is not a sufficient shield against self-incrimination, and there must be an attorney present at all times in cases of this seriousness. Injustice against one is injustice against all. History was written when she became the first Latina on death row. El Pueblo Unido, a united people, is making her the first Latina to walk out!"
Ray Velarde – LULAC National General Counsel
"Amazing! Thank you, Jesus, that justice has prevailed, at least for now and until the courts get a fresh look at Ms. Lucio's case. I am relieved and glad that their wisdom guided those charged with this difficult decision in applying the law's spirit and intent. Now, we can revisit how this travesty brought us to death's door for a mother who has already suffered so much over her baby's tragic accidental death. Today's stay is only the first step in what is yet a long and difficult journey ahead."
Rodolfo Rosales Jr. – Texas LULAC State Director
"This is a bittersweet moment for all involved. A mother has been spared execution, and we are thankful for that while at the same time, we remember and mourn Mariah, whose tragic death continues to pain her family and all of us. LULAC urges Texas to reconsider the validity of the death penalty, especially when cases like this occur that bring us to the edge of a precipice from which there is no return. We must advocate for reforms to be implemented, so justice prevails."
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/