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Please Save Linda Carty - British Grandmother Facing Execution In Texas

I’m appalled by the tragic story of Linda Carty, which recently featured on British TV recently. As summarised in the Guardian newspaper, she is a British citizen born in the West Indies and sent to death row in Texas in 2002. She's due to be executed for her involvement in the murder of a woman from whom it is alleged Carty was planning to steal her newborn son. Film-maker Steve Humphries concentrates on how a defence from one of the state's capital defence attorneys who's had over 20 other clients end up on death row, and evidence given by the gang who it is said broke into the woman's home with her, led to the conviction. 
There are a number of campaigns to save her from execution, including Reprieve http://www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/lindacarty/. Please sign the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savelindacarty/
According to the Daily Telegraph, “The British grandmother is incarcerated behind the razor-wire of Mountain View prison, Texas, awaiting the decision of a judge in Houston about the date of her execution. The 51-year-old, known as prisoner No 999406, was convicted of masterminding the fatal kidnapping of Joana Rodriguez, her 25-year-old neighbour who was seized by three men along with her four-day-old son in 2001. Ms Rodriguez was later found dead from Suffocation, with duct tape over her mouth and a plastic bag around her head. Prosecutors convinced a jury that Carty, a former primary school teacher, had paid the three men to carry out the attack as part of a plot to claim Ms Rodriguez’s child as her own. There was no forensic evidence linking her to the crime, but the three attackers testified that Carty had hired them to carry out the kidnapping as part of a plea bargain that saw them spared the death penalty. 
According to Reprieve, Linda was forced to accept a local court-appointed lawyer, Jerry Guerinot, whose incompetence has already led to 20 of his clients ending up on death row, more than any other defence lawyer in the US. Guerinot's catalogue of serious failings in Linda's case includes:
• Failure to spot obvious flaws and inconsistencies in the prosecution case;
• Failure to spend more than 15 minutes with Linda before the trial;
- had he investigated her case properly he would have known she had an allergy to chocolate, but in the trial he claimed he had had to bribe her with chocolate to get her to speak to him ! He was also awarded expenses to go to St Kitts find evidence but did not go. 
• Failure to investigate key mitigating evidence;
• Failure to inform Linda, a British citizen, of her right to consular assistance; and
• Failure to inform Linda’s husband of his right not to testify against his wife. 

based on the testimony of their informants, the prosecution’s theory was that Linda was afraid of losing her husband and thought that if she had another baby he would stay. They allege she was unable to get pregnant, and had hired three men to kidnap Rodriguez and that she planned to “cut the child out” of the pregnant mother - a baby of a different race to Linda.

The utter implausibility of this theory should have been obvious: Joana Rodriguez had already given birth to the child, as Linda clearly knew, being her neighbour. Since the baby would be a difference race to Linda, she could not possibly pass it off as her own. When the prosecution produced “the scissors” that Linda was supposedly going to use to cut the child out, Guerinot failed to point out that they were bandage scissors, with a rounded end, obviously useless for any such purpose.

Despite the fact that Linda’s life was at stake, an investigator from Guerinot’s office spoke to Linda for the first time, just briefly, only a couple of weeks before her trial. Guerinot himself met with Linda for only 15 minutes before trial. According to Guerinot he tried to talk to Linda but she refused until bribed with a bar of chocolate. As with so many matters, Guerinot could not even make up a story effectively – Linda is allergic to chocolate.

Hypericum Hypericum 56-60, M 39 Responses Dec 3, 2011

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More evidence that the Texas justice is seriously flawed. According to the official Texas state website http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/dr_info/cartylinda.html 'On 05/16/2001 Carty and three co-defendants invaded the home of a 25 year old female'. However Linda Carty was not present and only convicted without forensic evidence as a result of a plea bargain by the 3 co-defendants who then escaped the death penalty unlike Carty who did not have proper legal representation. So the Texas State official website is misreporting what actually happened in court!

The evidence is that Texas justice is seriously flawed, particularly when it come to death penalty and race issues. Yet some people persist in quoting its decisions as evidence it must be right as if it would come tumbling down if they recognised one flaw!

To quote from the UK's Independent newspaper 6 Dec 2010:

"In 2002, Carty was convicted of masterminding the fatal kidnapping of Joana Rodriguez, a neighbour who was seized alongside her four-day-old son by three men on 16 May 2001 and later found dead from suffocation, with duct tape over her mouth and a plastic bag around her head.

Prosecutors convinced a jury that Carty had paid the three men to carry out the attack as part of a bizarre plot to claim Ms Rodriguez's child as her own. There was no forensic evidence linking her to the abduction, but the attackers testified that she masterminded it.

Yet as dust settled on her guilty verdict, serious questions arose. Even rudimentary evidence had been overlooked during the trial. Key witnesses were not called. The jury, in a racially-charged case (the victim was Hispanic) consisted of 10 white people, one black and one Latino. Amid growing scepticism, appeal lawyers began pushing for a re-trial. Their campaign has thrust Carty to the centre of America's simmering debate over capital punishment and prompted scrutiny of the woefully inadequate legal counsel that she – like so many other death row inmates – was forced to rely on.

At the heart of Carty's case for a fresh trial is the allegation that she did not receive a competent defence from her original lawyer, Jerry Guerinot, a court-appointed attorney who has seen no less than 20 of his clients sentenced to death. Mr Guerinot met with Carty only once before the trial began, for just 15 minutes. He failed to call any witnesses and neglected to tell the jury that the three kidnappers who gave the crucial evidence against Carty did so as part of a plea bargain that would see them spared the death penalty."

A prosecuting attorney, a Judge and a jury of 12 thought she deserved the death penalty so she got it.

And when someone is sentenced to death they automatically get another trial, so she was found guilty again by another Judge and another jury of 12.

She should have thought about the consequences before she murdered someone.

How come people are always uptight about the murderers and not the victims or their families ?

Take the consequences that you deserve.. If she did it then she deserves whatever punishment that they see fit for the crime she has committed

Quite! The fundamental question is did she do it? The Texas trial she had was severely flawed represented by an apology for a lawyer appointed by the court. I am amazed by some people's assumption that despite such an appalling trial that she must be guilty and therefore deserves the death penalty. How would they feel if they or their families or friends were victims of such an appalling so called justice system - though of course the risks are less if you're white!

Oh so now you saying that she is faceing the death pentality because she is British you are ignorant ..honestly I don't give a flying **** if she dies or not because she put herself in that situation.

Dear Imperfectbeauty.

Just one polite question. How did 'she put herself in that situation'? Please explain clearly in such as way as an 'ignorant' person like me can understand.

One point of information. Under international treaty, the Texan authorities are required to inform the British authorities when a British national is charged. They failed to do so in this case. Also the court appointed lawyer for Linda Carty considered it irrelevant, which shows what an appalling lawyer he was. Had the British authorities been informed then they would have ensured that a competent lawyer was appointed to help ensure a fair trial.

The risks are nonexistent if you don't murder someone.

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My father, a feisty old liberal, used to call Texas, "Nut Country". This was in decades past.<br />
As far as ever going there, I am reminded of a chapter in a book on sailing. The title of the chapter was "How to Avoid Going Aground on Lee Shores". When you turned that page, the next page said on it, "Stay away from lee shores".

Ive done alot of research on Linda Carty. Most on death row would claim to be innocent, the fact thats shes black or british is neither here nor there. I find it somewhat strange that these 3 guys manage to take her car and kidnap in the first place, why would she have lent them her car, she knew that these 3 were into drugs etc bad company. I believe she knew that they were going to this womans house, did she order the murder? well only linda knows the answer to that. They should give her a stay , but i believe shes has all appeals turned down . Im sorry but no amount of petitioning will save her. They must have something solid on her for her to exhaust all of her appeals. 2 wrongs dont make a right and its very sad.

Glad you agree she should have a stay of execution. Hope you also agree they should give her a fair trial, which would be the way to find out the truth. There are so many flaws in the trial, starting with the court appointed lawyer who apparently only saw her for 15 minutes before the trial and claimed he had to bribe her with chocolate to talk to him despite her having a chocolate allergy. Apparently he also did not challenge when the prosecution produced blunt ended scissors in court and claimed these were the scissors that Linda intended to use to cut the baby out of the victim's womb - despite the child having already been born and the wrong colour.
I fear you show too much trust in Texas justice to assume that having exhausted her appeals there must be solid evidence against her. Seems more like the worst sort of kangaroo court to me.

Texas is amongst the most punitive of states, with the most DNA-related incarceration over-turn rates. I would not choose to live there. Those people are really confused and arrogant, right there in the bible belt. Those with the most dysfunction accuse others of the most confusion ("Don't Mess with Texas"? They never grow up there. But hey, they can become presidents and governors. Scary.)

Seems that many Texans think that however mistaken judicial sentence may be that it's their patriotic duty to insist that it's right and should be carried out!

Say what you want. I\'m a Texan, IF you come to my state we only ask one thing. DO NOT KILL SOMEBODY, if you do we WILL kill you back!

I\'m tired of mental midget\'s like you passing judgement on someone you do not know. As far as the Bible Belt? I don\'t go to church, most people I know in Texas don\'t. But know this, the majority of us have guns and we will defend ourselves.

Dear Ruckerra. People are merely asking that Linda Carty have a fair trial - which she patently has not. That is why people from around the world are questioning Texas justice and you can\'t simply dismiss them all as \'mental midgerts\'.

There is probably no place in the US where it is more difficult to get the government to admit that a death sentence may be flawed than in Texas. It seems that the Texas philosophy is that it is more important to execute a person than to execute the right person.

That's the impression I get from the UK of Texas, fully living up to the impression you get form John Grisham novels. Texas doesn't seem to recognise that apart from anything else it's putting the USA in breach of international treaty obligations with the UK. Had it abided by them, then the British Consul would have ensured that a decent lawyer was appointed who would have investigated the case so to help ensure there was a fair trial. The court appointed lawyer Guerinot was appointed to 39 people in 2007 and 20 received a death sentence. He only spent 15 minutes with Linda before the trial and claimed that he'd had to bribe her with chocolate to get her to speak to him - when if he'd studied Linda and the case he would have known she had a medically evidenced chocolate allergy! Really this trial verdict is so unsafe that any government that cared about justice rather then executing people would have ordered another trial.

Acknowledging any obligation to a foreign country is political poison here these days (rather like the Communist Chinese's repeated complaints that countries who chide them on human rights are interfering in Chinese "internal affairs"), and the US Supreme Court held in a case involving a Mexican national sentenced to death in Texas that failing to comply with the treaty does not affect the validity of the death sentence.

I regret that the USA seems to have a rather strange imperialistic attitude to justice. The USA exercises its rights under the US-UK Extradition Treaty to extradite British people for crimes committed on UK soil. According to the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17553860:

'British people are losing confidence in its operation and major changes are needed "to restore public faith", UK MPs have said. The UK's Commons Home Affairs Select Committee believes it is "easier to extradite a British citizen to the USA than vice versa". Public concern had been highlighted by recent cases including that of 65-year-old Christopher Tappin, the MPs said.
Tappin, a retired businessman of Orpington, south-east London, was extradited to the US last month for allegedly selling batteries for Iranian missiles, charges he denies.
Student Richard O'Dwyer, 23, of Chesterfield, is fighting extradition on copyright infringement charges over a website he ran in the UK.
Gary McKinnon, 46, from north London, who has Asperger's syndrome, has been fighting extradition on computer-hacking charges for 10 years.
The treaty was designed for the post 9/11 world: allies working hand in glove to bring bad guys swiftly to justice. Washington likes the deal - and so, in principle, does London. But the problem is that many MPs think that, in practice, it is deeply unfair - and there are ministers who shared those concerns while in opposition. British judges don't fully test American allegations, but US officials say their own courts, with all their judicial safeguards, look at the evidence before a warrant is slid into the fax machine (something I have reservations about the more I read of the flawed trials of people sentenced to death). I also believe that people should normally be tried in the country in which the crime was committed. In some of the most complex and difficult cases judges have dealt with involve people wanted for crimes that allegedly occurred in the UK, such as Babar Ahmad and Gary McKinnon. These raise serious questions about where somebody should be tried.
I'm at least grateful that the treaty does not allow the death penalty for anyone extradited.

You will get no disagreement from me. (A) Texas justice is viewed by the rest of US as an oxymoron, and (B) if our primary ally in London asks for consideration, I think we should give it. The UK is our closest friend.

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A British gran on death row in Texas has made a tearful plea for the UK Government to save her, according to Lucy Carne in 'The Sun', a British paper not noted for having a bleeding heart!<br />
<br />
Linda Carty, 53, is days from becoming the first British woman executed in 50 years.<br />
<br />
She could receive a date for her lethal injection at any moment after losing her final appeal.<br />
<br />
Carty — who has already spent 11 years in a US jail — said from Death Row: “I wouldn’t ask the British Government to lobby for me if I knew that I was guilty, because it would be an embarrassment to myself and my family, but also to the country that I love. When I say that I am innocent and that I didn’t commit this crime, I mean that.”<br />
The mum of one was convicted in 2002 of masterminding the brutal murder of a woman in Houston.<br />
<br />
The prosecution claimed Carty plotted with four men to kidnap and kill Joana Rodriguez, 25, so she could steal her four-day-old baby.<br />
<br />
Joana’s body was found in a car Carty had been leasing. But Carty had been working undercover for the Drug Enforcement Agency, and had loaned the car to a man she had met through her work. Carty — born on the Caribbean island of St Kitts before its independence from Britain — wants the UK to save her.<br />
<br />
The Foreign Office said it was pressuring the Texas authorities to stop her execution, adding: “The Prime Minister and British Government are deeply concerned.”<br />
<br />
The last British woman to be executed was Ruth Ellis in 1955. She was hanged for shooting her lover outside a pub in North London.

It's not because she's British, though, it's because her trial was not conducted properly and the guilty verdict is very clearly not safe; so, even should you believe in killing prisoners, even if you believe she is guilty ~ which is clearly not proven here, she should not be killed without justice being done, and being seen to be done. Deny her justice and, apart from probably taking another innocent life, Texas looks like just another lynch mob state.

Linda Carty has not had a fair trial. It's extraordinarily unsound to argue that she's a murderer just because of a previous criminal record. The only thing connecting Linda Carty with the scene of the crime is her car. Linda Carty was never at the scene of the crime – a fact that even the prosecution does not dispute.
It also happens that Linda Carty worked for 20 years as an informant for the US Drug Enforcement Agency and that the co-accused were known drug runners - and admitted to physically committing the actual crime! However they received a lesser sentence in return for testifying against Linda Carty.

Message from Linda Carty on Death Row, USA<br />
<br />
http://www.deathrow-usa.us/TXLindaCarty.htm<br />
<br />
Please read and comment.

The death penalty has been convincingly proved to NOT be a deterrent. As this is the only possible way that the death penalty can be justified, it seriously weakens any genuine reason for applying this penalty.<br />
<br />
Whether or not this woman is innocent is only partly the issue. She may or may not be guilty and this in itself should be sufficient to result in clemency. <br />
<br />
The death penalty is barbaric and indefensible in my opinion. Justice is not served by killing anyone - no matter what they have done.

I agree with Enna that the death penalty is barbaric and indefensible, as well as being ineffective as a deterrent.
China, together with Iran, North Korea, Yemen and the US (the only G7 country to still execute people) carried out the most executions last year according to the recent Amnesty report http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/mar/29/death-penalty-countries-world.
Excluding China, the report says: At least 676 executions were known to have been carried out worldwide in 2011, an increase on the 2010 figure of at least 527 executions worldwide. The increase is largely due to a significant increase in judicial killings in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Setting China aside, Amnesty said at least 676 executions were carried out last year. Half of those took place in Iran (276). North Korea executed 30, Yemen 29 and the US 43. The minimum number of executions was down from at least 714 in 2009.
What really puzzles and appalls me is why the USA, and Texas in particular, continue to hang out their alone as the only representative from western democracies with regimes such as China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen !

Statistics show that the US is in the top five countries executing their death row prisoners. The other four are China, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran.

What a club.

The British Government has said it is doing all it can the save the life of a British grandmother who has spent 11 years on Death Row in the United States.<br />
<br />
Linda Carty, 53, could receive a date for her execution at any moment after her final attempts to secure a new appeal failed.<br />
She would become the first British woman to be executed in 50 years.<br />
She was convicted of killing a young mother in Texas a decade ago but has always said she was fr<x>amed.<br />
Texas Death Penalty Facts<br />
The US restored the death penalty in 1976 <br />
Texas has carried out 481 executions since <br />
Three have been women <br />
Last woman executed in Texas: Frances Newton, in 2005 <br />
Last British woman executed: Ruth Ellis; hanged in England in 1955 <br />
As of December 31, 2011 there were 58 women on death row in the US<br />
Source: Amnesty, DPIC<br />
<br />
Her lawyers believe she was failed by the American legal system and admit her situation is "desperate".<br />
Carty spoke to Sky News on Death Row in Texas and told us: "I am 110% innocent. I know I didn't commit this crime. They took 11 years of my life for something I know I didn't do."<br />
<br />
from http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16202905

Sorry, but Governor Perry doesn't care.

During nearly 11 years in office, Perry has overseen 234 executions — by far the most of any recent governor in the United States — and has rarely used his power to grant clemency. He has granted 31 death row commutations; most of those — 28 — were the result of a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision banning capital punishment for minors.

Rick Perry was re-elected in 2010 with 55% of votes, so I'm disturbed that this indication that Texas doesn't care either about good justice and fair trials.

Well, a report was released today about a case in Texas several years ago where they executed the wrong person.

You will never know what happened. So how can you kill someone for it? And if you did send her for the death sentence, you should consider yourself as a killer. You really don't know! It is sad that people will condom, without really knowing . I guess that makes people feel better about their lives.

she took a life in a planned crime<br />
<br />
why do i have to pay or give up stuff to keep her alive<br />
<br />
how she will die is in no way the pain she caused the person hey killed >>>>>it is a good call<br />
<br />
i think death by WP is the best way to kill as it is very painfull

I regret that despite the unfair trial you're still assuming that she's definitely guilty. There seem to have been so many flaws in the trial process that her conviction should be recognised as unsafe.

The real point is not whether you believe that Ms. Carty is guilty or innocent. The real point is that the system is incapable of achieving the degree of absolute certainty that should be present before the government decides to kill someone. Weighing the risk of an erroneous execution against the indisputable fact that there is no genuine benefit to the government from conducting an execution leads to the conclusion that there should not be executions.

The point of the original posting and the article that was later posted was that she was innocent. Or at least that she was more than likely innocent. Both left out the direct and circumstantial evidence in the case and led, I'm sure, many to believe an innocent woman was going to be executed. That is poor and irresponsible reporting.
I don't understand how anyone outside the state of Texas has any say in how we run our criminal system. I don't mind Texans who are against it and become involved in the system to change it. That is their right as citizens of Texas, but no one in the UK or even in another state in the US has any say in the matter.
This convicted murderer will die peacefully unlike the innocent young mother she killed. I won't be losing any sleep at all over it.

There's been a long history of international campaigns for justice in states that deny proper justice by Amnesty and other organisations. This has included victims in many countries and I don't see why any state including Texas should be exempt.

A quick google check led to this on cca.courts.states.Texas.us:<br />
Carty's cell phone records were introduced, and showed eleven calls logged between 12:50 a.m. and 2:50 a.m. on 16 May 2001, between Carty's phone and the cell phone number that led police to Gerald Anderson. Seven of those calls were placed between 1:09 a.m. and 1:14 a.m. <br />
Yet she claims she didn't know any of the four accused killers. Seems to me this woman was a criminal (she has several charges) and also a habitual liar (her common-law husband left her because of it). Her prints were found in both the car the woman was found in, as well as the car the baby was found in. She actually led police to those cars. The date the crime took place was the same date she told several people she was having her child, though obviously she was not pregnant. And the husband/father of the victims heard one of the three men on the phone saying, "we're here. You want it?" Then after he hung up he said to the others, "we need to go SHE'S here." Taking the baby with them.<br />
The evidence points to her guilt and I believe that the jury made the right call. Justice has been served.

No forensic or other evidence given throughout her trial that supported the accusations other than the testimony of three men, the co-accused.
Although these men (Gerald Anderson, Chris Robinson and Carlos Williams) pleaded guilty to physically committing the crime, they were cut deals and given lesser sentences than Linda Carty who they claimed planned it all.
The only thing connecting Linda Carty with the scene of the crime is her car. Linda Carty was never at the scene of the crime – a fact that even the prosecution does not dispute.
It also happens that Linda Carty worked for 20 years as an informant for the US Drug Enforcement Agency and that the co-accused were known drug runners.
The lawyer appointed by the court spent only 15 minutes with her before her trial and had such an absysmal knowldege of her and her case that he claimed he had to bribe her with chocolate to get her to speak to him - despite her having a medically evidence allergy to chocolate.
The authorities acted illegally by ignoring an international treaty to advise the UK of any UK citizen arrested, had they done so the British Consul would have appointed a decent lawyer to ensure she had a fair trial.

I read through all of the postings and can't help but notice that there are a couple of facts missing. Ms. Carty was arrested in 1992 for grand theft auto and impersonating an FBI agent. She did operate as an informant for the DEA, that is until she was arrested on drug charges. I do not know all the facts if the case and I don't pretend to know whether this woman is guilty having not been in the courtroom to hear and see all the facts of this case, but I think it is irresponsible reporting to leave out the above mentioned facts. Makes me doubt the validity of your other claims. <br />
I live in Texas and I am glad we have the death penalty. I do expect that it should be implemented sparingly and responsibly.

So TCUfrog is 'glad we have the death penalty. I do expect that it should be implemented sparingly and responsibly'.

Yet according to http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org Texas has executed 482 (37%) of the 1295 executed in USA since 1976. So hardly 'sparingly' and hardly responsibly either in view of the flaws shown in the trials of Linda Carty and others.

Not clear how an arrest in 1992 is evidence of murder at a later date, and this does underscore the general concern that the process. The 4 men who actually killed Rodriguez escaped the death penalty by implicating Carty.

I'm afraid you won't find much compassion in the State of Texas, for people on death row. Here it's guilty until proven innocent, I'm afraid.

Sounds like Texas could be a dangerous state to visit! I enjoyed my visit there some years ago, but would hesitate to re-visit knowing what I do now about its justice processes.

Signed and donated. For those of us living in other countries (Australia in my case) this case reflects very badly not only on Texas but on the entire USA justice system. This may seem unfair, but sadly, that is how it is perceived overseas. Congratulations to Hypericum and all who have posted here for their humane views and commitment to justice.

'She shouldn't have been involved in the murder of that poor woman. She's getting what she deserves.' That is according to 'strokin4u2c' on 23 February 2012. <br />
<br />
However the real killers appear to be the 4 men who kidnapped the Joana Rodriguez and duct taped her mouth, but were then promised a lesser sentence in return for testifying against Carty. What sort of justice system is that? So I'd like him to read the article below and think again. The article is from a very well respected British newspaper the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/28/linda-carty-innocent-death-row?INTCMP=SRCH. Alex Hannaford the journalist has worked as a journalist for 16 years and has written extensively about the death penalty and human interest issues in Texas where he lives. <br />
<br />
"Linda Carty, a British citizen, has spent eight years on death row in Texas. Her supporters claim that she is innocent – and that one final appeal is all that can save her from lethal injection in the county with the highest execution rate in the US<br />
<br />
It was an unseasonably cold day in May 2002 when Charlie Mathis walked into the Houston courtroom. He had been called as a ­witness for the prosecution, which he found puzzling: he had, after all, spent the last few years working with the woman now sitting in the dock, and felt sure she wasn't ­physically capable of committing murder – the crime ­before the court. In fact, if anything, he had expected to appear for the defence, but Mathis says that as he walked past the woman's ­lawyers, one of them turned to him and commented glibly: "Oh, I guess I should have talked to you some time, shouldn't I?"<br />
<br />
It was an early sign that Linda Carty, the woman in the dock, had a difficult road ahead. A British passport holder from the Caribbean island of St Kitts, Carty is now 51 and has spent almost eight years on death row in Texas, accused of abducting and killing a woman in order to steal her baby and pass it off as her own.<br />
<br />
In the early morning of 16 May 2001, four men broke into a flat in the apartment complex where Carty lived, demanding drugs and money from the people inside. Joana Rodriguez, who lived there with her husband and ­infant son, was later found suffocated in the boot of a car that belonged to Carty's daughter, her arms and legs bound with duct tape, and a plastic bag placed over her head. Her baby was found alive in another car later the same day. Three of the men – Chris ­Robinson, Gerald Anderson, Carliss Williams (the fourth has never been identified) – told police that Carty had planned the entire thing and that she told them if they broke into the ­apartment and kidnapped Rodriguez and her son, they would find 200lb of marijuana and cash inside.<br />
<br />
In return for testifying against Carty, the three men were each ­promised lesser sentences. During the police ­investigation, a tenant in the same complex told detectives she had seen Carty the previous evening ­sitting in a car in the parking lot and that she had told her she was pregnant and that the baby was going to be born the next day.<br />
<br />
Carty blames her conviction on her trial lawyer, whom she says was ­woefully inept. She also believes that she was fr<x>amed by people she met in her work as an undercover informant for the Drug Enforcement ­Administration, a job that involved befriending ­criminals and passing on information to handlers such as ­Mathis. She says Robinson, Anderson and Williams must have been hired to carry out the task.<br />
<br />
Last autumn, an appeal court ­rejected Carty's claim that her trial in 2002 was unfair. This means that the supreme court, and a rare last-minute reprieve from the board of paroles and pardons, is all that stands between her and the ultimate punishment: execution by lethal injection. This could come as early as this summer.<br />
<br />
The British government seems to be rallying behind Carty: last year it filed an amicus brief (a legal document registering the concerns of a third party over the court's ­decision) at the 5th circuit court of appeals. On ­Friday, the human rights group ­Reprieve announced at a press ­conference that the government is filing another brief – this time to the US supreme court. In addition, the UK solicitor general, Vera Baird, plans to fly to Texas to increase British ­involvement in the case. But time is fast running out.<br />
<br />
Although the number of executions in the US has declined over the last five years, the percentage carried out by Texas has increased. Since the mid-70s, Texas has been responsible for more than a third of all US ­executions; ­between 2002 and 2006 it was ­responsible for 40%, and last year it ­accounted for 50%, including two ­foreign nationals.<br />
<br />
Kristin Houle, head of the Texas ­Coalition Against the Death Penalty, told me Harris County (where Carty had her trial) has sent 104 people to their death – more than any other state in the US, let alone county. "Death ­penalties peaked around the time Linda was convicted and sentenced – there were 40 new death sentences in Texas that year, 11 of them in Harris County. But in 2008 and 2009 there were no new death sentences in Harris County at all. The big question is, would Linda have been sentenced to death if her trial was today? It's doubtful."<br />
<br />
At the Mountain View Unit, a ­maximum-security state prison in Gatesville, Texas, Carty remains ­upbeat and still hopes that she will be exonerated. She is investing all her emotional energy in an appeal her lawyers are making, and she wants the state of Texas to release fingerprint and DNA evidence that she says might prove she wasn't responsible.<br />
<br />
"I'm not going to let anyone kill me knowing that we should have done x, y, z and it wasn't done," Carty says from behind bullet-proof perspex.<br />
<br />
Carty's fingerprints were found in both her daughter's Chevrolet Cavalier, in which Rodriguez's body was found, and a Pontiac Sunfire, rented in her daughter's name and in which police found the kidnapped boy. But Carty says no fingerprints or DNA evidence were ever taken from the duct tape or plastic bag wrapped around the victim – or at least that if it was, it has never been released.<br />
<br />
"There was nothing that linked me to the case except hearsay. I wouldn't put anything past these people [Robinson, Anderson and Williams] and they know I didn't know anything about it. Our paths had never crossed until that day. If the DNA on the body itself isn't mine, then whose is it? It was never tested. Houston's crime lab has done such shoddy work – they've got such incompetent people in there." (She has a point. An audit of Houston's crime lab in 2002 found that DNA ­technicians misinterpreted data, were poorly trained, and kept slipshod records.)<br />
<br />
Carty's current appeal hinges on something known as the Strickland Standard. This essentially rules that a defence counsel must be an "effective advocate of their client's position", and Carty's current lawyers say that her original trial attorney, Jerry Guerinot, was far from effective. In fact, out of around 40 of Guerinot's clients charged with capital murder, 20 were ­sentenced to death. Clive Stafford-Smith, founder and ­director of ­Reprieve, says: "Jerry Guerinot has, in my ­opinion, the worst record of any capital defence lawyer in America. He has had more clients sentenced to death than most states have prisoners on death row . . . He's shockingly bad." Guerinot didn't return a call asking for comment.<br />
<br />
Back in her native St Kitts, Carty taught children from low-income families in the hope they could have a better lot in life. She was active in her local church and had political aspirations too – she was heavily involved with the People's Action Movement, a party founded on a platform of anti-corruption and opposition to unfair taxes.<br />
<br />
Carty and her family emigrated to the US in 1982 and she went on to study pharmacology at the University of Houston. It was while she was a student there that she was recruited as an undercover informant by the DEA and asked to befriend suspected drug traffickers, usually of Caribbean origin, and pass information to Mathis, who says that Carty risked her life for him on several occasions. This background would, her current lawyers insist, have been crucial in helping convince the jury of her good character at her ­original trial.<br />
<br />
According to the prosecution, Carty started living with her boyfriend, Jose Corona, three years before the murder, and although she had a grown-up daughter, Jovelle Joubert, she told ­Corona three times that she was expecting another child, and then later that she had miscarried on each occasion. Two weeks before the murder, according to the prosecution, Corona threatened to leave Carty because she kept lying about being pregnant but she pleaded with him to stay, insisting she was going to have a baby boy on 16 May – the day Rodriguez was murdered.<br />
<br />
The prosecution claimed that Carty could no longer conceive and planned to cut the baby out of Rodriguez's womb with a pair of scissors and pass it off as her own. The State's lawyers dramatically produced a pair of Carty's scissors in court, which ­succeeded in eliciting a strong ­response from the jury; they were, in fact, bandage ­scissors with rounded ends – ­incapable of cutting through skin and muscle ­tissue. In any case, Rodriguez had given birth three days before the murder.<br />
<br />
Stafford-Smith says Carty has been in abusive relationships. "She is a battered woman and she was raped when she was younger," he says. "The ­prosecution argued that she ­desperately wanted a child to maintain the relationship she was in. But that's a small fact that you invariably build a bigger story on.<br />
<br />
"The prosecution came up with a ­motive that she wanted to steal this woman's child because she wasn't ­having her own child. But she had bought those rounded-end bandage scissors for her daughter who was ­going to pharmacy school. Guerinot could have pointed this out just by picking up the scissors."<br />
<br />
Carty says that aside from Robinson, Anderson and Williams, there was one other person who knew the truth about what happened to Rodriguez – a man called William Arvizu, with whom she was associated through her work for Mathis and the DEA. She says Arvizu had borrowed the car in which ­Rodriguez's body was found, and was therefore clearly connected with the crime. But seven months before Carty's case even came to trial, Arvizu was shot dead, along with his pregnant wife and their five-year-old daughter.<br />
<br />
"I was on recreation and looking at the TV at the time," Carty says. "I saw William Arvizu had been shot, execution-style, in his home and I just started screaming and crying. The only person who knew the truth – other than my co-accused – was dead."<br />
<br />
The prosecution claimed Carty was seen in one of the cars the night before the murder. They also said that baby clothes were found in a bag in the back seat. Carty says she wasn't in the car and that the Houston Police ­Department must have planted the clothes. "My storage unit was broken into," she says. "All those clothes had been labelled and packed away in there." I called the Houston Police Department to speak to the original investigating ­officers in the case, but their public ­affairs spokesman told me: "They're just not available to talk on the matter.")<br />
<br />
I also wrote to Robinson, Anderson and Williams – each currently serving a lengthy sentence in various Texas prisons – requesting interviews. Only Anderson replied, saying he was "not acquainted with Ms Carty", but that if I helped him with his appeal, he would do all he could to help me ­"resolve [my] questions surrounding the Carty case". In the trial, however, it was precisely his "acquaintance" with Carty that led to her conviction and sentence.<br />
<br />
Today, Mathis is clearly fighting ­demons. Now a private investigator, he is upset that he took the stand for the prosecution and not on Carty's behalf. "I never wanted to help put anybody on death row," he tells me. He says that if Carty did organise the kidnapping then she was mentally ill, but that he is sure she was incapable of murder. "If nothing else, she needed a better legal team on her side. I think everybody ­deserves a proper trial," he says. "I think the guys hog-tied that woman, they stuffed her into that hatchback, and her lungs couldn't fill with air . . . All we know is what the men said and they were trying to avoid the death penalty too. Is that fair?"<br />
<br />
Carty's lawyers are waiting to see whether the supreme court will take the case. But according to David Dow, litigation director of the Texas ­Defender Service and a professor of law at the University of Houston, such intervention is rare.<br />
<br />
Still, Carty's daughter lives in hope her mother will be exonerated. "To be honest we prayed [the appeal court] would find in her favour last year, but we knew in Texas they weren't ­going to overturn anything. With mum, one, not being a citizen, two, being a woman, and three, being black, it's going to be an upward battle. My hope is that the supreme court will hear her case."<br />
<br />
Stafford-Smith says that if this fails, then hope will rest solely on a petition for clemency. The worst-case scenario? The court rejects the appeal or refuses even to grant Carty a hearing. If this happens, the ruling will come before the court goes into summer recess and Carty could be executed as early as June or July.<br />
<br />
For now, Carty spends 20 hours a day in her cell, praying that her appeal will be heard. I ask if she finds solace in the company of her fellow inmates. "I don't talk to them," she says. "I don't want to be around negativity. My life is more important than that. You would think it would break me, but it hasn't."

You believe the state is totally incompetant the government is the problem, yet you think that very same state should be trusted with the power of life and death? ******* Texans, no offense to my Texas friends.

I watched that the other week, i doubt the british goverment will give a ****, and the rest of the uk, but ill sign anyway!

Thanks for signing the petition anyway. Linda Carty does seem to be the victim of bad justice in Texas convicted without proper evidence. I urge EP members to personally write to David Cameron appealing for him to pursue her case with the USA Federal Government and Texas Governor. There are many other prisoners on death row in Texas in particular and US states, with a disproportionate number of black people among them reflecting the inequality of justice in Texas.

Thanks for reminding me of this. I will gladly sign the petition.

Texas love to execute Black peopel, good luck!

I agree. Texas justice seems so appalling, that I'm glad I passed through it safely years ago. No intention to go back, despite being white.

i find some aspects of the American legal system terrifying. I do hope that this appeal/petition works and I'll sign it now.

NikkiNorris has set up a group ' I Believe Linda Carty Should Have A Retrial' and added an article by Alex Hannaford, a British feature writer living in Texas (www.alexhannaford.com). The article 'No Justice' <a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Believe-Linda-Carty-Should-Have-A-Retrial/1912233" target="ep_blank">EP Link</a> '. <br />
According to Hannah, the prosecution painted her as a baby-crazed woman, prepared to kill in order to pass off her neighbour's infant as her own. However Hannaford found there was more to the story - most of which hadn't fully come out at her trial. She had worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, as an undercover agent befriending suspected traffickers in order to get information and, occasionally, make test purchases of drugs. It was risky work as her targets were dangerous people, and she was responsible for putting countless criminals behind bars. She claimed that she was targeted by the Houston underworld bearing a grudge. <br />
<br />
Please go to <a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Believe-Linda-Carty-Should-Have-A-Retrial/1912233" target="ep_blank">EP Link</a> for the full article.

NikkiNorris has set up a group ' I Believe Linda Carty Should Have A Retrial' and added an article by Alex Hannaford, a British feature writer living in Texas (www.alexhannaford.com). The article 'No Justice' <a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Believe-Linda-Carty-Should-Have-A-Retrial/1912233" target="ep_blank">EP Link</a> '. <br />
According to Hannah, the prosecution painted her as a baby-crazed woman, prepared to kill in order to pass off her neighbour's infant as her own. However Hannaford found there was more to the story - most of which hadn't fully come out at her trial. She had worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, as an undercover agent befriending suspected traffickers in order to get information and, occasionally, make test purchases of drugs. It was risky work as her targets were dangerous people, and she was responsible for putting countless criminals behind bars. She claimed that she was targeted by the Houston underworld bearing a grudge. <br />
<br />
Please go to <a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Believe-Linda-Carty-Should-Have-A-Retrial/1912233" target="ep_blank">EP Link</a> for the full article.

Oh, I had never heard of this before. In Europe you cannot get informations. We only read or hear sometimes a little bit when the president of the U.S. has to say something about Europe or the world economy. <br />
What a tragic story. One should put the lawyer into prison. <br />
I could never understand why such a modern seeming society/state like the US-American has the death penalty till today. At least in some states. <br />
That they are not realizing that it is murder by the state if the lady is unguilty... ??<br />
Here are really many doubts of her guilty. <br />
Very good story by you and great that you engage here so much. Pardon for my English

Thanks Alex. I am also puzzled why an apparently advanced society such as the USA still has the death penalty. None of the European Union states still have the death penalty.

According to Wikipedia,Capital punishment has in the past been practiced by most societies (one notable exception being Kievan Rus), although currently only 58 nations actively practice it, with 96 countries having abolished it (the remainder having not used it for 10 years or allowing it only in exceptional circumstances such as wartime).[2] It is a matter of active controversy in various countries and states, and positions can vary within a single political ideology or cultural region. In the European Union member states, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the use of capital punishment.[3]

As of 2010 Amnesty International considered most countries abolitionist.[4] The UN General Assembly has adopted, in 2007 and 2008, non-binding resolutions calling for a global moratorium on executions, with a view to eventual abolition.[5] Although many nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world's population live in countries where executions take place, inasmuch as the People's Republic of China, India, the United States of America and Indonesia, the four most populous countries in the world, continue to apply the death penalty (although in India and Indonesia it is used only rarely). Each of these four nations voted against the General Assembly resolutions.

Signed, and I've also posted the link elsewhere. Notice the only dssenting voice in the comments is a completely illiterate one, by someone who is clearly not interested in little things like facts and humanity.