In a series of tweets On Tuesday, Kim Kardashian called on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to find Melissa Lucio, a domestic violence survivor whose attorneys are granting clemency say She “falsely” admitted to killing her two-year-old daughter in 2007. If Governor Abbott doesn’t step in, Lucio will executed on April 27th and She would be the first woman to die by execution in Texas in decades.
According to Lucio’s lawyers, her young daughter died in a tragic accident when she fell down a steep flight of stairs in front of her apartment. During the course of Lucio’s aggressive interrogation, she denied molesting her child more than 100 times. But eventually, after hours of questioning, when police asked her if she was responsible for some of her child’s injuries, she told them, “I think I did.”
It was 3 a.m.
Lucio’s lawyers say her testimony was taken out of context and misused as a confession by prosecutors. Her legal team, as well as domestic violence advocates across the country, have also argued that Lucio made the statement after she was worn down by trauma and grief at the loss of her child, as well as a lifetime of domestic violence.
Kardashian noted Lucio’s background as a survivor and its implications for what Lucio’s lawyers have called a false confession in their tweets demanding clemency. “She has been on death row for over 14 years because her daughter died in a tragic accident,” Kardashian wrote. “Their 2-year-old daughter Mariah fell down a flight of stairs and died two days later while she was napping. After calling for help, she was arrested by the police.”
Kardashian continued, “Melissa is an abuse and domestic violence survivor herself after hours of interrogation and a false plea of guilty. She wanted the interrogation to end, but the police turned her words into a confession. … It’s stories like Melissa’s that make me speak so loudly about the death penalty in general and why it should be banned when innocent people are suffering.” She then shared a shortcut to the Innocence Project’s petition, which allows people to contact Texas officials to demand clemency for Lucio.
Kardashian has previously used her platform to advocate for clemency and forbearance for inmates and death row inmates. In 2018, she asked then-President Trump to commute her life sentence Alice Johnson, a first-time drug offender. Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence shortly thereafter. Kardashian once again urged the former president to do the same Sorry Brandon Bernard the day before Bernard’s execution in 2020. “Having met Brandon I am heartbroken about this execution,” she tweeted at the time. But Trump declined to intervene this time, and Bernard was killed on December 10.
Just before Kardashian tweeted her support for Lucio, a member of the jury that sentenced Lucio to death came forward and called for a retrial. “Little did I know that when she was subjected to aggressive interrogation tactics on the night of her daughter’s death, her long history of physical and sexual abuse made her vulnerable to false confessions,” said juror Johnny Galvin, Jr. wrote on a Sunday op ed in The Houston Chronicle. According to Galvin, “there were so many other details” about Lucio’s case that “were not mentioned,” and he would have voted differently with that information.
Sandra Babcock, faculty director of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide and advisor to Lucio’s legal team, told The Independent last year that Lucio’s case “is an example of how the US legal system continues to ignore the implications of gender-based violence when sentencing women to death.”
Our criminal justice system often criminalizes survivors– especially those who are women of color, like Lucio. As a result of what is often described as a pipeline of sexual assaults to prison, almost 90% of incarcerated women are survivors of sexual violence. Many are criminalized in self-defense against an abuser, while others may be prosecuted if their abusive partner harms their children. Pregnant women can even be criminalized if they experience physical abuse and consequently lose her pregnancy.
Kardashian’s advocacy for Lucio comes amid ongoing criticism of her often-deaf political utterances, including recently telling less privileged women to “get your ass off and work”. Regardless, Kardashian has a massive platform and undeniable political clout, and she puts it to good use here in her plea to save Lucio’s life.
https://jezebel.com/kim-kardashian-urges-clemency-for-melissa-lucio-woman-1848753308 Kim Kardashian pleads for clemency for Melissa Lucio on death row