Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXII Number 8, August 2014

  SUMMER BREAK: No Monthly Meeting 
Thursday August 28.
  Tuesday, September 9, 7:30 PM. Letter 
writing meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner 
of Hill and California in Pasadena. In the 
summer we meet outdoors at the "Rath al 
Fresco," on the lawn behind the building. This 
informal gathering is a great way for 
newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty.
  Sunday, September 21, 6:30 PM.  Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
group. This month we read "Devil in the 
Grove" by Gilbert King.
  Thursday, September 25, 7:30 PM. Monthly 
meeting. We meet at the Caltech Y, Tyson 
House, 505 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena. We will 
be planning our activities for the coming 
months. Please join us! Refreshments 


Hi All
School started last week and it has been crazy! 
Hopefully things will settle down once we have 
filled the 13 open positions in our area!

Group 22 is now tabling regularly at the 
Pasadena Farmer's Market in Victory Park on 
Saturdays.  Thanks to Alexi for arranging this. 
I'd forgotten what a great market this is-much 
better than the one in So Pas!

Our former Western Regional Coordinator, 
Kalaya'an Mendoza, was in Ferguson, Missouri, 
with an Amnesty team monitoring the situation. 
See the AI press release in this newsletter.

Con Carino,

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, Sep. 21, 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado, Pasadena

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the 
Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America
Book Review

The news, when it came, was short and sweet. 
Standing on a Florida golf course last week, 
Gilbert King looked at his phone and saw a two-
word text message from an old friend: "Dude. 
Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times

Mr. King, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, with 
his dog, Louis. 

Mr. King, much to his surprise, had just been 
declared the winner in the general nonfiction 
category for "Devil in the Grove: Thurgood 
Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a 
New America." The book, about four black men 
falsely accused of raping Norma Lee Padgett, a 
17-year-old white woman in Groveland, Fla., in 
1949, unearthed a largely forgotten chapter in 
the long history of racial injustice in the United 
States, and explored, in painstaking detail, the 
tactics used by Thurgood Marshall, the future 
Supreme Court justice, to chip away at the 
foundations of Jim Crow law. 

Though Mr. King did not know it, his publisher, 
Harper Collins, had nominated the book, which 
beat out Katherine Boo's lavishly praised 
"Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and 
Hope in a Mumbai Undercity," winner of the 
National Book Award in the same category in 
November. The other finalist was David George 
Haskell's "The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in 
Nature," a sharp-focus examination of a square 
meter of old-growth forest in Tennessee. 

 "I'm sure people who write the big, critically 
acclaimed books know if they're in the 
running," Mr. King said during an interview in 
his small walk-up apartment on the Upper East 
Side, a few blocks from Gracie Mansion. "But I'd 
just gotten a notice from my publisher that the 
book had been remaindered." 

Mr. King, an amateur historian, stumbled on the 
Groveland case while writing his first book, 
"The Execution of Willie Francis," another tale 
of racial injustice. Groveland "wasn't really 
covered in a lot of the Marshall biographies, 
which tend to treat his criminal cases as 
footnotes," he said. "His clerks knew all about it, 
though, because he always talked about it when 
he recalled the old days." 

There was a lot to recall, most of it horrific. One 
of the accused men never made it to a 
courtroom. He was hunted down and shot to 
death by a hastily organized posse. Two others 
were shot by the local sheriff, Willis McCall, 
while being transported from state prison to the 
local jail for a hearing after their convictions 
were overturned by the Supreme Court. One 
died on the side of the road. The other survived. 

Mr. King was able to reconstruct events, 
virtually day by day, after getting his hands on 
two troves of data. He gained access to the 
unedited files of the F.B.I., which sent 
investigators to Groveland to conduct 
interviews with local officials and police. He 
also convinced the N.A.A.C.P. to let him see the 
tightly controlled files of its Legal Defense and 
Educational Fund. The fund's directors, citing 
concerns about lawyer-client confidentiality, has 
been loath to grant access to the material even to 
eminent civil rights historians like Taylor 

 "I don't think anyone had seen those files for 20 
years," Mr. King said. "But I just kept at it. I 
said, 'My focus is very narrow. I just want to 
look at this one case.' " 

Mr. King was fortunate in his protagonists. 
Marshall, already assuming larger-than-life 
dimensions, was determined to see justice done 
but focused on cases that let him set legal 
precedents to dismantle segregation and Jim 
Crow. The public-relations value of the 
Groveland case was not lost on him, either. 

Every good drama needs a villain. The 
Groveland case had a memorable one in McCall, 
a ruthless, brutal man who conducted a one-
man reign of terror in Lake County. "He made 
Bull Connor look like Barney Fife," Mr. King 
said, referring to the notorious commissioner of 
public safety in Birmingham, Ala., during the 
civil rights era. "Connor used dogs and fire 
hoses. McCall actually killed people." 

Mr. King traveled a winding professional road 
on the way to his Pulitzer. A native of 
Schenectady, N.Y., he attended the University of 
South Florida with the thought that he might 
make a career playing second base. That dream 
died when he got a look at some of the 
Dominican players the school had recruited. 

After coming up two math credits short of a 
degree in English, he moved to New York and 
patched together a living doing freelance editing 
and ghostwriting. One project was a coffee-table 
book dedicated to antique bicycles. 

While working for a publisher of medical 
magazines, he was asked to fill in and supervise 
a photo shoot in Puerto Rico. The work 
appealed to him. He learned to handle a camera, 
got into fashion photography, and picked up 
lots of jobs from foreign magazines that needed 
a man on the spot in New York. 

His two books enjoyed only modest sales, and 
he is undecided what the next project might be. 
When the Pulitzer news came, "I was sort of 
lying low," he said. Three times a month he files 
offbeat historical stories for Past Imperfect, a 
blog on Smithsonian magazine's Web site. His 
topics have included the great Australian prison 
break of 1876 and, to coincide with the Masters 
tournament, the story of Craig Wood, the 
unluckiest golfer of all time. 

It was while editing a crime encyclopedia that 
he found the subject of his first book. Willie 
Francis, a teenager convicted of murdering a 
white pharmacist in St. Martinville, La., in 1944 
and sentenced to die in the electric chair. 
Because of a malfunction, Francis survived 
electrocution; a local lawyer, arguing that a 
second electrocution would be cruel and 
unusual punishment, took his case all the way to 
the Supreme Court. 

Mr. King, a fan of Walter Mosley's historical 
crime novels, took full advantage of the setting, 
in the heart of Acadiana, to spin an atmospheric 
yarn around the facts. "It became a strange 
Cajun murder mystery," he said. 

It ended badly. In 1947, weary of the legal 
battles being fought on his behalf, Willie Francis 
took his seat once again in the chair nicknamed 
Gruesome Gertie. There were no glitches the 
second time around. 

In the case of the Groveland Four, Mr. King was 
able to track down some participants; the case 
still burns in local memory. When he returned to 
Groveland for a reading, the local librarian 
informed him that two threats had been phoned 
in. "Don't worry," she said, "we called the 
sheriff's office." Mr. King savored the moment. 

One interview subject he saved for last: Norma 
Lee Padgett herself, who lived in a trailer at the 
end of a dirt road in rural Georgia. A relative 
answered the door of a second trailer on the 
property and acted as a go-between. The 
message he brought back to Mr. King was, "Let 
sleeping dogs lie." 

Author Bio
Gilbert King is the author of Devil in the Grove: 
Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the 
Dawn of a New America, which was awarded the 
Pulitzer Prize in 2013. A New York Times 
bestseller, the book was also named runner-up 
for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for non-
fiction and was nominated for an Edgar Award 
for Best Fact Crime. King is originally from 
Schenectady, New York. He has written about 
Supreme Court history and the death penalty 
for the New York Times and the Washington Post, 
and he is a featured contributor to Smithsonian 
magazine's history blog, Past Imperfect. His 
book, The Execution of Willie Francis was 
published in 2008. He lives in New York City 
with his wife, two daughters, and a French 
Bulldog named Louis.

AUGUST 18, 2014

Amnesty International USA Calls for 
Investigation of Police Tactics in Ferguson
Organization On the Ground in Ferguson 
Monitoring Policing of Protests
Contact: Amanda Simon,, 
202.680.2866, @AIUSAmedia or Gabe 
Cahn,, 202.412.1678

(FERGUSON, MO) - As communities across the 
nation stand witness to the killing of an 
unarmed African American teenager by a police 
officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Amnesty 
International USA was on the ground 
monitoring events. With the return of its human 
rights delegation from Ferguson, the 
organization today called for an investigation 
into police tactics used during protests.

Kalaya'an Mendoza, one of Amnesty's 13-person human 
rights delegation, on the ground in Ferguson (Photo 
Credit: Amnesty USA).

Amnesty International USA sent a 13-person 
human rights delegation, which included 
observers who monitored police and protester 
activity and sought meetings with officials. 
Other members of the delegation trained local 
activists in methods of non-violent protest.
"Amnesty International has a long and tested 
history of monitoring and investigating police 
conduct, not just in foreign countries, but right 
here at home in the United States," said Steven 
W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty 
International USA. "Our delegation traveled to 
Missouri to let the authorities in Ferguson know 
that the world is watching. We want a thorough 
investigation into Michael Brown's death and 
the series of events that followed."
Amnesty International USA is calling for:
*	A prompt, thorough, independent and 
impartial investigation into the shooting 
of Michael Brown. Brown's family must 
be kept informed throughout the 
investigation. Under international law, 
police officers suspected of having 
committed unlawful acts must be held to 
account through effective investigation, 
and where warranted, prosecuted.
*	All police departments involved in 
policing the ongoing protests in 
Ferguson in response to Michael Brown's 
death must act in accordance with 
international human rights standards. 
Any human rights abuses in connection 
with the policing of protests must be 
independently and impartially 
investigated, and those responsible held 
*	A thorough review of all trainings, 
policies and procedures with regards to 
the use of force and the policing of 
protests should be undertaken.
"Moving forward, we must seize this moment to 
bring about a wide-ranging review of all 
trainings, policies and procedures with regard to 
the use of force and the policing of protests in 
Ferguson and around the country," added 
Hawkins. "This is a moment for people around 
the country - and around the world - to join the 
Ferguson community in raising concerns about 
race and policing, and about the impact of 
militarization on our fundamental right to 
peacefully assemble."

Gao Zhisheng

by Joyce Wolf

China did indeed release imprisoned human 
rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng on August 7 as 
previously announced, but we don't have much 
cause for celebration. 

We knew that China planned to place Gao 
Zhisheng under probation for one year after his 
release. Following the guidelines in Amnesty's 
updated case dossier, we have been writing to 
Chinese officials and urging that Gao "does not 
face any harassment or restrictions on his 
freedom of movement, speech and association 
after he is released from prison." However, it 
now appears that Gao's physical condition is a 
far more pressing concern than his civil rights. 

Following is the August 13 media release from 
Jared Genser, who has been acting on behalf of 
Gao's wife Geng He. I don't want to dilute its 
impact by summarizing or paraphrasing, so I 
quote it in its entirety.

Washington, D.C.: On August 7, 2014, 
Chinese authorities released renowned 
Chinese human-rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. 
He is now staying with his wife's sister in 
Xinjiang, under a round-the-clock watch by 
Chinese security officials.

Since his release, the family has now learned 
some terrible details about how he was 
treated in prison. From the time of his 
reappearance in Shaya prison in December 
2011, Gao was held in a small cell, with 
minimal light, 24-7-365. Guards were strictly 
instructed not to speak with him. He was not 
allowed any reading materials, television, or 
access to anyone or anything. He was fed a 
single slice of bread and piece of cabbage, 
once a day; as a result, he has lost roughly 
22.5 kg (50 pounds) and now weighs about 
59 kg (130 pounds). He has lost many teeth 
from malnutrition. It is believed he was also 
repeatedly physically tortured. 
Unfortunately, it is hard to get much more 
than basic information from him. Gao has 
been utterly destroyed. He can barely talk - 
and only in very short sentences - most of 
the time he mutters and is unintelligible. It is 
believed he is now suffering from a broad 
range of physical and mental health 
problems; he has not been allowed to see a 
doctor since his release.

After speaking with him and hearing from 
her family about Gao's immense suffering, 
Geng He commented: "I am completely 
devastated by what the Chinese government 
has done to my husband. The only thing I 
feared more than him being killed was his 
suffering relentless and horrific torture and 
being kept alive. My children and I have 
been lucky to have had the protection of the 
United States since we arrived here in March 
2009. We desperately need help from our 
adopted country and from President Obama 
and Secretary Kerry personally to demand 
the Chinese government to allow my 
husband to come to the United States for 
medical treatment. If President Xi Jinping has 
any sense of decency or humanity, after 
crushing my husband both physically and 
psychologically, the least he could do is 
allow me as a devoted wife to care for him."

Gao's international lawyer Jared Genser 
further added: "I am heartbroken for Geng 
He and her family. We knew that if Gao 
wasn't killed, he would have suffered 
immensely. But the situation is far worse 
than my limited imagination enabled me to 
contemplate. While China is a great power in 
the 21st century, the inhumanity and 
brutality that it has demonstrated by the 
torture of Gao Zhisheng shows its profound 
insecurity and fear of anyone in its 
population who stands up to its repression."

I suggest that we write immediately to all the 
Chinese officials on our list and express our 
dismay that Gao is being prevented from 
receiving the medical attention that he so 
urgently requires. Remember to follow Amnesty 
guidelines and be polite and respectful.

I received this on Aug. 24 from the AIUSA 
China Co-group:
Amnesty International posted their response to 
Gao Zhisheng's release on social media at the 
links below.
Twitter (English):

By Stevi Carroll

"Certainly, from the standpoint of life and 
death, capital punishment is just as deadly a 
form of violence as murder - a man is just as 
dead if he is killed by the state as he is if killed 
by a murderer. Therefore, if we wish to learn 
more about the causes of violence in order to do 
a better job of preventing it, we need to study 
the violence of legal punishment."
James Gilligan, MD
Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes

Joseph Rudolph Wood III

The span from 1:52 PM to 3:49 PM.  This is the 
length of time the drugs used for the State-
sanctioned murder of Joseph Wood took to kill 
him July 23rd.  Because many companies that 
sold the drugs we in the USA use for executions 
stopped selling them to us, our executioners 
have had to find other willing vendors, and 
drugs.  Mr. Wood fought unsuccessfully in court 
for more information about the drugs that 
would be used to kill him.  His final words 
were, "I take comfort knowing today my pain 
stops, and I said a prayer that on this or any 
other day you may find peace in all of your 
hearts and may God forgive you all."  Mr. Wood 
had been on death row for 23 years.

Whether Mr. Wood suffered or not is a matter of 
perception.  Apparently, he was "gasping or 
snorting for more than an hour," according to 
the public defender Jon M. Sands, or "There was 
no gasping of air. There was snoring. He just 
laid there. It was quite peaceful," according to 
Stephanie Grisham, the spokeswoman for the 
Attorney General's office.

While Charles Ryan, the Arizona Department of 
Corrections director, said, "I am committed to a 
full, complete and transparent account of the 
events of inmate Wood's execution," Senator 
John McCain said, "I believe in the death 
penalty for certain crimes.  But that is not an 
acceptable way of carrying it out.  And the 
people who were responsible should be held 
accountable.  The lethal injection needs to be 
indeed lethal injection and not the bollocks-
upped situation that just prevailed.  That's 
torture."  In other words, let's just get it right.  
And how might we do that?  Well, Chief Judge 
Alex Kozinski of the 9th US Circuit Court of 
Appeals said "lethal injection (is) a 'dishonest' 
attempt to disguise the brutal nature of capital 
punishment" and therefore "properly trained 
firing squads are a 'foolproof' way to quickly 
execute an inmate and avoid complications 
surrounding lethal injection."  Arizona 
Governor Jan Brewer was concerned about how 
long the execution took, but she said, "One thing 
is certain, however, inmate Wood died in a 
lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical 
accounts he did not suffer." Some of the people 
in the comment threads following articles about 
this execution believe it was not 'botched' 
because, well, Mr. Wood is dead.  Others 
thought any torture he may have experienced 
was appropriate because he was a murderer.  
And so it goes.

One thing that interests me is the second drug 
used in Mr. Wood's execution.  Hydromorphone 
has been used in two executions in 2014, Mr. 
Wood's and Dennis McGuire's January 16.  At 
the time of Mr. McGuire's execution, he was 
said to have 'struggled, gasped for air.'  His 
execution took 25 minutes, the longest of the 53 
executions in Ohio since the death penalty 
resumed 15 years ago.  One of the prison guards 
said Mr. McGuire "faked" his "symptoms of 
distress." I'm unsure how or why he could have 
done that.  But when I looked up 
hydromorphone, the side effects included 
among others swelling or tingling in the mouth 
or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, and 
slow or shallow breathing.  Perhaps Mr. 
McGuire and Mr. Wood suffered from the side 
effects of this drug.  Mr. Wood received 50-
milligram increments of hydromorphone 15 
times between 1:53 PM and 3:49 PM for a total of 
750 milligrams.  These are the same drugs used 
for surgery and for a lengthy surgery, a patient 
receives no more than 2 milligrams each of 
midazolam and hydromophone.  According to 
Mr. Wood's attorney, Dale Baich, "The Arizona 
execution protocol explicitly states that a 
prisoner will be executed using 50 milligrams of 
hydromorphone and 50 milligrams of 
midazolam."  Obviously, something did not 
work as expected and went terribly wrong.

We are left with this concern: Was justice 

Richard Brown, the brother-in-law of Debbie 
Dietz one of Mr. Wood's victims, said, "This 
man conducted a horrific murder and you guys 
are going, let's worry about the drugs.  Why 
didn't they give him a bullet, why didn't we 
give him Drano?"  Twenty-five years after Mr. 
Wood murdered Ms Dietz and 23 years after Mr. 
Wood was sentenced to die, Mr. Brown's and 
the other family members' pain and desire for 
revenge remain raw. I have to wonder if this 
prolonged, and perhaps painful, death of Joseph 
Rudolph Wood III, the former boyfriend of their 
loved one, will bring them the peace Mr. Wood 
wished for them with his final words.

Attorney General Kamala Harris

Despite personally opposing the death penalty, 
AG Kamala Harris said she will ask for the US 
9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the 
ruling by US District Judge Cormac J. Carney.  
Last month, Judge Carney said the long delays 
in executing death row inmates and the 
uncertainty about whether or not inmates 
would, in fact, ever be executed violated the 
Constitution's ban on cruel or unusual 
punishment.  Whatever the decision, it will 
affect all of California and other western states.

"Executions are shrouded in secrecy, masked, 
sanitized. If people could see the brutality of 
killing a human being, they might reconsider 
their support for the death penalty." 
Sister Helen Prejean

Stays of execution

6	William Montgomery		Ohio
6	Manuel Vasquez		Texas


23	Joseph Wood			Arizona
		Lethal Injection
		 - midazolam + hydromorphone

6	Michael Worthington		Missouri
		Lethal Injection - pentobarbital

UAs                        10
POC                         8
Total                      18
To add your letters to the total contact 

Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code C1-128
Pasadena, CA 91125

Amnesty International's mission is to undertake research and action focused on 
preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, 
freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the 
context of its work to promote all human rights.