February 25, 2010

 Death row grandmother Linda Carty files last-ditch ‘video plea’ to the US Supreme Court; best-selling crime writer Martina Cole joins British government in fight to prevent summer execution.

 PRESS CONFERENCE:             12.30pm, Fri 26th February                                                     Freshfields Northcliffe House, 28 Tudor St. EC4Y 0AY

1) Speaking for Linda Carty:     Martina Cole: bestselling British crime writer                                                     Steve Humphries: award-winning British filmmaker                                                     Clare Algar: executive director, Reprieve

2) Video extracts from Linda Carty’s unique Supreme Court video plea will be released 

Britain’s best-selling crime writer Martina Cole, a long-term supporter of battered women and prisoner’s rights, will tomorrow announce via press conference that she has taken up the case of Linda Carty, British grandmother facing execution in Texas. She will shortly travel to Texas, where she will support Linda and educate the US public and politicians about her catastrophic trial. Her visit will be filmed and this footage will be released during the visit next month.

Also tomorrow, a highly unusual video plea will be submitted to the US Supreme Court in support of Linda, who faces execution within months unless the Court agrees to rehear her case.

The plea will be filed on Friday 26th Feb in Washington DC and announced via press conference in London on the same day. Footage from the plea – which will demonstrate the multiple flaws in Linda’s disastrous trial — will be shown and released to the press. British film company Testimony Films will submit the film to the Court, along with briefs from Reprieve and the British Government.

Linda Carty, a British grandmother, was sentenced to death in February 2002 by a Texan court, largely because of multiple failures by her notoriously incompetent state-appointed attorney. On Friday her new legal team will submit their final appeal to the US Supreme Court, which hears only a tiny number of cases per year. Linda is now dangerously close to execution.

Martina Cole, crime writer, says:

“Linda Carty has been failed by the very system that is supposed to protect vulnerable people. It is clear that she had poor representation, that the case against her was flawed and that her conviction is unsafe. That is why I am supporting the campaign against her death sentence.”

Steve Humphries of Testimony Films says:

“I was intrigued by the plight of a British woman on Death Row who proclaimed her innocence, and spent many weeks sifting through the original court proceedings. There were so many unanswered questions, so many discrepancies in evidence and such an abiding sense of injustice surrounding the case. In gathering the testimonies of Linda, her family and others, I became convinced that a major miscarriage of justice had occurred.”

Clare Algar, Executive Director of Reprieve, says:

“Linda Carty’s court-appointed lawyer did not act as her lawyer in any sense of the word – it is horrendous that his incompetence may result in Linda’s death. We hope the Supreme Court will reopen this case, in the interests of justice and for the sake of Linda’s heart-broken family.

For further information, please contact Reprieve’s Press Office 020 7427 1099 or go to

Notes for Editors:

Martina Cole was born and brought up in Essex. She is the bestselling author of fourteen novels set in London’s gangland, and her most recent three paperbacks have gone straight to No. 1 in the Sunday Times on first publication. Total sales of Martina’s novels stand at over eight million copies.

Steve Humphries and his company Testimony Films have made many major award winning films for broadcasters like the BBC and Channel 4. His work has ranged from documenting the heroism and the tragedy of New York firefighters in 9/11, to exposing the widespread abuse of fundamental human rights by the Catholic Church in the Magdalene Homes of Ireland. Central to Humphries’s work is powerful first-person accounts that question our assumptions, expose injustices and reveal deeper truths.

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.

Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

ReprievePO Box 52742London EC4P 4WSTel: 020 7353 4640Fax: 020 7353 4641Email: is a charitable company limited by guarantee; Registered Charity No. 1114900 Registered Company No. 5777831 (England) Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 6YH; Chair: Lord Bingham; Patrons: Alan Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon Roddick, Jon Snow, Marina Warner