WHEN A CALL FOR HELP IS TRULY A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
During the past 30 years, the USHCA has responded to just about every imaginable call for assistance. Within our industry there is no shortage of conflict requiring resolution. Of the thousands of requests received over the years, a recent call left the USHCA leadership stunned.
The United States Courts Federal Public Defender Capital Habeas Unit and The Innocence Project reached out to the USHCA for assistance with their efforts to obtain a Stay of Execution for Ms. Melissa Lucio. Ms. Lucio was within weeks of execution stemming from a conviction for murder of her young daughter, more than 16 years prior.
The USHCA has taken on tough fights to ensure fair and equitable treatment for our community, yet the fight for the life of another is one in which the consequences of failure were unimaginable. While the request was heartbreaking, USHCA Leadership knew serious contemplation was necessary in determining if the USHCA not only could, but should intervene.
After reviewing the many facts surrounding the tragedy of the death of Ms. Lucio’s daughter and the resulting interrogation, arrest, trial and conviction, the conclusion was made that there is no more serious fight for fair and equitable treatment, than the one involved in this complex case.
During the past 30 years, the USHCA has built many long lasting and mutually trusted relationships with community, religious and industry leaders, as well as respected elected officials. We were able to draw upon those relationships to meet and speak candidly with relevant parties to the request for Stay of Execution about the many existing troubling issues related to the Lucio conviction.
As the saying goes, “it takes a village”; the USHCA’s village was armed with strong leaders all striving for fair treatment by the judicial system for Ms. Lucio. Senator Eddie Lucio (no relationship to Melissa Lucio) was an instrumental leader, along with many others including the The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, Mr. Doug Deason, and Mr. Adrian de la Rosa, an investigator with the Capital Habeas Unit.
With a successful outcome to the Stay of Execution granted, the USHCA is honored to have been included in such an important and truly life changing event. The fight is not over and is currently in the hands of the expert legal team working diligently for Ms. Lucio.
While the USHCA sits in no judgment of the events of this tragedy, we feel the call for our assistance speaks volumes about the respect and capabilities of our leadership, membership, staff, and tremendous relationships built over the years. There has been no greater fight than this in ensuring fair treatment for a member of the Hispanic community.