Items: 51 — 60

Oct 14, 2014

Death Penalty Lawyer Called America’s Mandela

In a recent col­umn in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof high­light­ed the work of Bryan Stevenson (pic­tured), refer­ring to him as America’s Nelson Mandela.” Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, has focused his career on rep­re­sent­ing indi­gent defen­dants, espe­cial­ly those on death row through­out the south. In his new book, Just Mercy, Stevenson tells the sto­ry of rep­re­sent­ing and even­tu­al­ly win­ning the exon­er­a­tion of Walter McMillian, a black man unjust­ly con­vict­ed and sen­tenced to death in 1988 for the mur­der of a white woman in…

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Sep 30, 2014

BOOKS: Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, has writ­ten a new book, Just Mercy, about his expe­ri­ences defend­ing the poor and the wrong­ful­ly con­vict­ed through­out the south. It includes the sto­ry of one of Stevenson’s first cas­es as a young lawyer, that of Walter McMillian, who was even­tu­al­ly exon­er­at­ed and freed from death row. McMillian, a black man, had been con­vict­ed of the mur­der of a white woman in Monroeville, Alabama. His tri­al last­ed just a day and a half, pros­e­cu­tors with­held excul­pa­to­ry evi­dence, and the judge…

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Sep 17, 2014

BOOKS — CONSTITUTION DAY: The Birth of American Law”

In The Birth of American Law: An Italian Philosopher and the American Revolution, his­to­ri­an John Bessler reveals the pro­found influ­ence that the Italian thinker, Cesare Beccaria, had on the con­sti­tu­tion­al founders of the United States, includ­ing George Washington and John Adams. Beccaria’s best­selling book, On Crimes and Punishments, argued against tor­ture and the death penal­ty, say­ing only pun­ish­ments proven absolute­ly nec­es­sary should be used. Bessler shows that the death penal­ty was more con­tro­ver­sial at the writ­ing of the con­sti­tu­tion than is often assumed today. America did aban­don England’s Bloody Code…

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Sep 11, 2014

BOOKS: America’s Experiment with Capital Punishment”

The high­ly acclaimed resource on the death penal­ty — America’s Experiment with Capital Punishment” — has just been released in its Third Edition. This com­pendi­um of essays by experts cov­ers the his­to­ry, pol­i­tics, and law of the death penal­ty, as well as relat­ed issues, such as inno­cence, intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ty, and race. DPIC’s Executive Director, Richard Dieter, con­tributed a chap­ter on the costs of the death penal­ty. The edi­tors encour­age read­ers to grap­ple with the many ques­tions sur­round­ing cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, say­ing, Today, more than 40 years after the death penal­ty came…

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Aug 14, 2014

DPIC RESOURCES: Educational Curricula on the Death Penalty

As schools begin their new terms, we would like to remind you of two edu­ca­tion­al resources on the death penal­ty free from DPIC. Our award-win­ning high school cur­ricu­lum, Educational Curriculum on the Death Penalty, includes 10-day les­son plans, inter­ac­tive maps and exer­cis­es, and a pre­sen­ta­tion of pros and cons on the death penal­ty for dis­cus­sion and debate. It is also avail­able as a free iBook for the Apple iPad. The iBook ver­sion incor­po­rates the inter­ac­tiv­i­ty and user-friend­ly inter­face of a tablet, includ­ing touch-screen nav­i­ga­tion, access to the full cur­ricu­lum even…

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Jul 08, 2014

BOOKS: Questioning Capital Punishment”

Questioning Capital Punishment, a new book by James R. Acker, a pro­fes­sor of crim­i­nal jus­tice at the University at Albany, pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive overview of the death penal­ty in America. With a basis in court deci­sions and research stud­ies, the book cov­ers all the key issues and the argu­ments for and against cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. Chapters are devot­ed to deter­rence, sen­tenc­ing cri­te­ria, racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, and inno­cence, among oth­er top­ics. In review­ing the book, Carol Steiker, a pro­fes­sor at Harvard Law School, said, In the rapid­ly chang­ing polit­i­cal and legal land­scape around…

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May 28, 2014

BOOKS: I Am Troy Davis”

I Am Troy Davis is a recent book by Jen Marlowe and Troy Davis’ sis­ter, Martina Davis-Correia, that tells the sto­ry of a pos­si­bly inno­cent man who was exe­cut­ed in Georgia in 2011. Troy Davis was sen­tenced to death for the mur­der of a police offi­cer in Savannah. Years lat­er evi­dence cast­ing doubts about his guilt emerged, includ­ing recan­ta­tions from sev­er­al of the wit­ness­es who had tes­ti­fied against him. Pope Benedict XVI, President Jimmy Carter, and 51 mem­bers of Congress peti­tioned for his clemen­cy. Regarding the book, actress Susan Sarandon…

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May 15, 2014

BOOKS: Gruesome Spectacles” Reveals the History of Botched Executions

A new book, Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty, describes the his­to­ry of flawed exe­cu­tions in the U.S. from 1890 to 2010. During that peri­od, 8,776 peo­ple were exe­cut­ed and 276 of those exe­cu­tions went wrong in some way. Of all the meth­ods used, lethal injec­tion had the high­est rate of botched exe­cu­tions – about 7%. Austin Sarat, the author of the book and a pro­fes­sor of jurispru­dence and polit­i­cal sci­ence at Amherst College, described the evo­lu­tion of new meth­ods of exe­cu­tion: With each devel­op­ment in the tech­nol­o­gy of execution,…

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Mar 24, 2014

BOOKS: Quest for Justice — Defending the Damned

In his book, Quest for Justice: Defending the Damned,” Richard Jaffe explores the prob­lems of the American death penal­ty sys­tem through his expe­ri­ence as a cap­i­tal defense attor­ney in Alabama. During the past twen­ty years, Jaffe has helped secure the release of three death row inmates: Randall Padgett and Gary Drinkard, who were ful­ly exon­er­at­ed, and James Cochran, who was cleared of mur­der charges, but plead­ed guilty to a relat­ed rob­bery charge. In his book, Jaffe wrote, I always keep in mind the max­im that his­to­ry will judge a society…

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Feb 18, 2014

BOOKS: The Wrong Carlos” Argues Texas Executed an Innocent Man

One of the strongest accounts point­ing to the exe­cu­tion of a prob­a­bly inno­cent man in recent times con­cerns the case of Carlos DeLuna, who was exe­cut­ed in Texas in 1989. In a forth­com­ing book, The Wrong Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution, Professor James Liebman of Columbia Law School describes his inves­ti­ga­tion into the case, along with a team of stu­dents. The inves­ti­ga­tion uncov­ered seri­ous prob­lems in DeLuna’s case, includ­ing faulty eye­wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny and the police’s fail­ure to inves­ti­gate anoth­er poten­tial sus­pect. DeLuna main­tained his inno­cence and said anoth­er man,…

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