M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives

ARCHIVES OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND POLICY

Finding Aid for the
BILL BABBITT COLLECTION,
1970, 1982, 1991-2008 (bulk 1991-1999)
(APAP-204)

Manny Babbitt poem

For reference queries contact Grenander Department Reference staff or (518)-437-3935

Finding Aid Compiled by
Tiffany O'Leary
2010


 
 
 
 
 
 

M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935


VOLUME: 3.32 cu. ft., plus cardboard box which housed Manny Babbitt's personal items at San Quentin.

ACQUISITION: All items in this collection were transferred to the M.E. Grenander Department Special Collections and Archives by Bill Babbitt in 2008.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Series Descriptions

Box and Folder Lists:


Bill Babbitt Collection
Biographical Sketch

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Bill Babbitt is an activist in the abolition movement. He regularly speaks out against the capital punishment system after promising his younger brother Manny he would campaign to end the death penalty.[1] On May 4, 1999 Bill Babbitt witnessed fifty-year-old Manny Babbitt's execution by the State of California at San Quentin prison.

The sons of an émigré from the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of western Africa, Manny and Bill Babbitt grew up in a family of eight children in Wareham, Massachusetts. Enlisting in the Marines as a teenager, Manny Babbitt served two tours of duty in Vietnam, including fighting at the siege at Khe Sanh in 1968.[2] He later received a Purple Heart for wounds sustained during his military service in 1998, while a prisoner on Death Row.

In the years following his discharge Manny Babbitt lived in Massachusetts and Rhode Island where he suffered from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. He spent time in psychiatric institutions, failed at relationships, lived periodically on the streets, drank and engaged in drug use, and went to prison for committing increasingly violent crimes.[3] He moved in September 1980 to Sacramento, California to be with his brother Bill and sister-in-law Linda. There Manny Babbitt was ultimately tried and convicted of the murder of an elderly woman, Leah Schendel, who died of cardiac arrest after being severely beaten during a robbery in her home in December 1980.

After discovering his brother might be involved in this crime, Bill Babbitt approached the police and assisted them with the arrest of Manny Babbitt. Bill Babbitt states the authorities promised his brother would receive psychological help and placement in a mental health facility rather than on Death Row.[4] In 1982, however, after being found sane and guilty of murder, Manny Babbitt was sentenced to death. His family strongly believes that his initial lawyers were not competent nor did they offer post-traumatic stress disorder as part of the defense.[5] While Manny Babbitt never denied committing the crime, he stated he could not remember anything about that night.[6]

During the 1990s Manny Babbitt had a new legal defense team dedicated to trying to appeal his conviction, secure a new trial, and spare his life through legal channels. It was led by public defender and lead counsel Jessica McGuire and a fellow Vietnam veteran and trial attorney Chuck Patterson. In addition to Manny and Bill Babbitt's family and supporters, other Vietnam veterans also petitioned California Governor Gray Davis for clemency in this case. Both legal activity and media coverage of the case intensified in the early months of 1999, leading up to Governor Davis denying clemency, several high courts rejecting last minute appeals and intervention, and Manny Babbitt's subsequent execution.

Bill Babbitt continues to campaign against the death penalty and is frequently interviewed on network television news programs, radio stations, major daily newspapers, and magazines. He attends anti-death penalty rallies, testifies before state legislative committees, and often speaks alongside David Kaczynski, the executive director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty, before student and legal groups. David Kaczynski assisted federal authorities with the apprehension of his brother Ted Kaczynski, known as the "Unabomber." The documentaries And Then One Night: The Making of Dead Man Walking with Sister Helen Prejean and Mike Farrell and A Question of Justice, also with David Kaczynski, share the story of Bill and Manny Babbitt.

Bill Babbitt is active in several national organizations that oppose capital punishment. He was a board member of Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation from 2000-2004 and is a founding board member of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, where he still serves today.


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Notes

1.Statement of Bill Babbitt at the inaugural "No Silence, No Shame" event. Accessed on September 21, 2010, http://www.willsworld.com/~mvfhr/nsstatements.htm
2. Gabrielle Banks, "Justifiable Homicide," Dissent, Summer 2001, 56-57.
3. Gerald Carbone, "Manny Babbitt's Road to Death Row," The Providence Sunday Journal, December 27, 1998 and Sam Stanton, "One death, one killer, but many crushed lives," The Sacramento Bee, March 3, 1999, A13.
4. John Howard, Associated Press, "Brothers of 2 Killers Share Agony, Regret," The Washington Post, 26 April 1999, A2.
5. Bill Babbitt biography. Accessed on September 21, 2010, http://www.willsworld.com/~mvfhr/bill.htm and Jim Doyle, "Dramatic Plea to Save Killer," The San Francisco Chronicle, March 29, 1999, A4.
6. "My Brother's Guilt Became My Own," The New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2001, 62.


Bill Babbitt Collection
Scope & Content Note

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The Bill Babbitt Collection documents nearly ten years of legal efforts to spare Manny Babbitt's life from execution, and two decades of advocacy activities to try to abolish the death penalty. The bulk of materials are court records from the 1990s related to Manny Babbitt's case. In addition, the collection includes the contents of Manny Babbitt's cell at San Quentin at the time of his execution, correspondence from both Manny and Bill Babbitt, speeches, prison records, materials from death penalty abolitionist organizations and conferences, and news articles about the case and Bill Babbitt's ongoing advocacy work.


Bill Babbitt Collection
Series Descriptions

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Series 1: Legal Materials, 1991-1999, 1.82 cubic ft., Arranged chronologically.

The majority of this series consists of court records from Manny Babbitt's case. There are materials from the District Court for the Eastern District of California, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, California Supreme Court, and U.S. Supreme Court. The series also contains other legal documents, such as Manny Babbitt's last will and testament, and legal correspondence.

Series 2: Manny Babbitt, 1970-1999, Undated, .67 cubic ft., Arranged chronologically.

The series contains the contents of Manny Babbitt's cell at the time of his execution in May 1999 and his original works, including several poems. There also is an empty cardboard box which housed Manny Babbitt's personal items in his cell. Please note that the dates for the series are not inclusive and the bulk of files date from the 1990s.

Series 3: Advocacy, 1995-2008, Undated, .83 cubic ft., Arranged chronologically.

This series includes documents related to Bill Babbitt's campaign to end the death penalty. Correspondence, speeches, documents from the organizations Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation and Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, pamphlets from various conferences, background information and data on capital punishment, and a printed tribute to Manny Babbitt comprise this series. There also are numerous news articles about Manny and Bill Babbitt spanning the years 1998 through 2008.


Bill Babbitt Collection
Box and Folder List

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Series 1: Legal Materials, 1991-1999

Box 1
Folder

1. District Court for the Eastern District of California, August 1991-November 1991
2. Legal Correspondence, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1997-1999
3. California Supreme Court, Petition for writ of Habeas Corpus, November 1992
4. District Court for the Eastern District of California, August 1992-1993
5. Supreme Court- Reply to Informal Response, June 1993
6. District Court for the Eastern District of California, August 1995-December 1995
7. District Court for the Eastern District of California, January 1996
8. District Court for the Eastern District of California, February-March 1996
9. District Court for the Eastern District of California, April 1996

Box 2
Folder

1. District Court for the Eastern District of California, May 1996
2. District Court for the Eastern District of California request to expand. Exhibits: Vol. I, May 1996 [1 of 2]
3. District Court for the Eastern District of California request to expand. Exhibits: Vol. I, May 1996 [2 of 2]
4. District Court for the Eastern District of California Exhibits: Vol. II, May 1996 [1 of 3]
5. District Court for the Eastern District of California Exhibits: Vol. II, May 1996 [2 of 3]
6. District Court for the Eastern District of California Exhibits: Vol. II, May 1996 [3 of 3]
7. District Court for the Eastern District of California Exhibits: Vol. III, May 1996 [1 of 2]

Box 3
Folder

1. District Court for the Eastern District of California Exhibits. Vol. III, May 1996 [2 of 2]
2. District Court for the Eastern District of California, June 1996
3. District Court for the Eastern District of California, August 1996
4. District Court for the Eastern District of California, August 1996-December 1996
5. District Court, February 1997- March 1997
6. District Court: Vol. I of Appendix to motion to Amend findings, March 1997 [1 of 3]
7. District Court: Vol. I of Appendix to motion to Amend findings, March 1997 [2 of 3]
8. District Court: Vol. I of Appendix to motion to Amend findings, March 1997 [3 of 3]

Box 4
Folder

1. District Court: Vol. II of Appendix to motion to Amend findings, March 1997 [1 of 2]
2. District Court: Vol. II of Appendix to motion to Amend findings, March 1997 [2 of 2]
3. District Court: Vol. III of Appendix to motion to Amend findings, March 1997
4. District Court for the Eastern District of California, May 1997
5. Court of appeals for the 9th Circuit, 1997-1998
6. Court of appeals for the 9th Circuit- Source Material ca.1997 [1 of 2]
7. Court of appeals for the 9th Circuit- Source Material ca.1997 [2 of 2]
8. District Court for the Eastern District of California, July 1998
9. U.S. Court of appeals for the 9th Circuit, October 1998- February 1999
10. U.S. Supreme Court- Petition for Writ of Certiorari, December 1998

Box 5
Folder

1. U.S. Supreme Court, January-February 1999
2. Superior Court of California, March 1999
3. Choice of Execution method form, March 1999
4. Incomplete Petition for Clemency, March 1999
5. Supreme Court: Exhibits to Petition for Clemency. Vol. I, March 1999 [1 of 3]
6. Supreme Court: Exhibits to Petition for Clemency. Vol. I, March 1999 [2 of 3]
7. Supreme Court: Exhibits to Petition for Clemency. Vol. I, March 1999 [3 of 3]
8. Supreme Court: Exhibits to Petition for Clemency. Vol. II, March 1999 [1 of 3]
9. Supreme Court: Exhibits to Petition for Clemency. Vol. II, March 1999 [2 of 3]
10. Supreme Court: Exhibits to Petition for Clemency. Vol. II, March 1999 [3 of 3]

Box 6
Folder

1. Reply to Response to Clemency Petition, April 1999
2. Last Will and Testament, April 1999
3. California Supreme Court, Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Emergency Application for stay of Execution, April 1999
4. California Supreme Court, Exhibits to Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Emergency Application for stay of Execution, April 1999 [1 of 2]
5. California Supreme Court, Exhibits to Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Emergency Application for stay of Execution, April 1999 [2 of 2]
6. Death Certificate, May 1999


Bill Babbitt Collection
Box and Folder List

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Series 2: Manny Babbitt, 1970-1999, Undated

Box 1
Folder

1. Dishcharge Report, 1970
2. Publications, 1982, 1993, 1998, 1999
3. The Battle of Khe Sanh, 1991
4. Legal Correspondence, 1991, 1992, 1997-1999
5. Personal Correspondence, 1992, 1996-1999
6. Khe Sanh Veterans Reunion, 1993
7. Correspondence from State of California or San Quentin, 1996, 1998, 1999, Undated
8. Copy of Purple Heart Award Certificate, January 1998
9. Book excerpts, Poems and Drawings, 1998 and Undated
10. Inmate Work Supervisors Time Log, 1998, 1999
11. Petition for Clemency, March 1999
12.Exhibits to Petition for Clemency Vol. II March 1999, [1 of 3]
13. Exhibits to Petition for Clemency Vol. II March 1999, [2 of 3]

Box 2
Folder

1. Exhibits to Petition for Clemency Vol. II March 1999, [3 of 3]
2. Reply to Response to Clemency Petition, April 1999
3. Property Inventory, May 4, 1999
4. Personal Correspondence, Undated
5. Photographs, Undated
6. The Heart of Understanding, Undated
7. Stamps, Undated

Box 3

1. Valley of Decision, 1991

Box 4

1. Empty cardboard box which housed Manny Babbitt's personal items in his cell at San Quentin, Undated


Bill Babbitt Collection
Box and Folder List

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Series 3: Advocacy, 1995-2008, Undated

Box 1
Folder

1. Death Penalty Facts, 1995, 2000, 2005, Undated
2. Bill and Linda Babbitt Correspondence, 1995, 1999-2006
3. Speeches and Articles, 1996, 2001, 2006, Undated
4. Letters Written by Manuel Babbitt to Bill and Linda Babbitt, 1997, Undated
5. Manny Babbitt Articles, 1998
6. Declaration of William Babbitt May 1999
7.Tribute to Manny Babbitt (unbound copy), July 1999
8. Tribute to Manny Babbitt (bound copy), July 1999
9. Manny Babbitt Articles, 1999 [1 of 2]
10. Manny Babbitt Articles, 1999 [2 of 2]
11. Letters to Governor Davis and Mayor Brown, 1999, Undated
12. Religious Views, 1999 and Undated
13. News Articles about Death Penalty, 1999-2001, 2005-2007

Box 2
Folder

1. Advocacy Newsletters, 1999-2001, 2003, 2005-2008
2. Conferences and Events, 1999-2003, 2005
3. Manny Babbitt Loaves and Fishes Donations, 2000
4. Manuel Babbitt Information Sheets, 2000, Undated
5. Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, 2000-2003, Undated
6. Bill and Manny Babbitt Media Coverage, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008
7. California Death Row Inmates, 2002
8. Campaign for the Nobel Peace Prize for Governor Ryan of Illinois, 2003
9. Understanding Capital Punishment, 2003
10. Capital Defense Handbook, 2005
11. Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights (MVFHR), 2005-2007, Undated
12. Conferences and Events, 2006-2008, Undated

Box 3
Folder

1. Advocacy Magazines, 2007
2. Bill and Linda Babbitt Correspondence, 2007, 2008, Undated
3. Visitor Passes, Undated
4. Buttons, Stickers and Bumper Stickers, Undated
5. Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Undated
6. Photographs
7. Advocacy Pamphlets and Backgrounders, Undated
8. Bill Babbitt Remarks, Undated


Last updated October 13, 2010

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