Governor Greg Abbott
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

David G. Gutiérrez, Presiding Officer
Executive Clemency Section
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
8610 Shoal Creek Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78757

Re: Letter in Support of Clemency for Roberto Ramos Moreno, TDCJ # 999062 

Dear Governor Abbott and Presiding Officer Gutiérrez,

We write to urge you to commute the sentence of Roberto Ramos Moreno, whose execution is now scheduled for November 14.

International human rights law is predicated on recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all people, including those who have committed terrible crimes.[1] Human Rights Watch believes the inherent dignity of the person cannot be squared with the death penalty, a form of punishment that is unique in its barbarity and finality, and, as practiced in the United States, a punishment inevitably plagued by arbitrariness, prejudice and error. We therefore oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and in all countries around the world.

In 2005, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concluded that Mr. Ramos Moreno received inadequate legal defense from his court-appointed trial lawyer, which violated his fundamental right to due process and a fair trial.[2] In addition, the Mexican government maintains that Mr. Ramos Moreno’s consular notification and visitation rights under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations were not respected.[3]

In addition to all of this, there is unique mitigating information in Mr. Ramos Moreno’s case. A mental health expert determined that Mr. Ramos Moreno suffers from severe organic brain damage and has been afflicted with Bipolar Mood Disorder for most of his life including at the time of the offense. Human Rights Watch has called for the commutation of death sentences in other cases involving individuals with serious mental health conditions.[4]

The United States stands increasingly alone in its pervasive use of the death penalty. By retaining capital punishment in a world that has largely turned its back on this practice, the US damages its reputation, causes friction with its closest neighbors and allies, and undermines its own efforts to promote human rights at home and abroad.

For all these reasons we urge you to commute the sentence of Roberto Ramos Moreno. If you have any questions, please contact me via phone at 415-801-7305 or by email at parkera@hrw.org.

Sincerely,

Alison Leal Parker
Managing Director, US Program
Human Rights Watch