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Executed on a Technicality: Lethal Injustice on America's Death Row

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Executed on a Technicality: Lethal Injustice on America's Death Row Cover

ISBN13: 9780807044193
ISBN10: 0807044199
Condition:
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When David Dow was first asked to represent death row inmates, he supported the death penalty. Capital punishment was an abstraction to him, and he imagined that death row was filled with characters like Charles Manson and Hannibal Lecter. Dow gradually realized that his perception of the death penalty and those on death row was completely incorrect.Dow began witnessing the profound injustices the inmates consistently endured: from confessions coerced by the police to bizarrely incompetent lawyers; from corrupt prosecutors and backward judges to racist juries. None of his clients was a serial killer; some had been unarmed and perhaps unwitting accomplices; most were repentant; one turned himself in; several were obviously innocent. Not one of them fit the media stereotype of the hardened, heartless murderer, incapable of rehabilitation, undeserving of even a modicum of justice. And yet these are the men Dow came to know as he fought, often unsuccessfully, for their lives. In the end, he is forced to concur with Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart's famous pronouncement that being sentenced to death in America is like being struck by lightning; capital punishment isn't reserved for the most heinous criminals but is meted out arbitrarily.The cases in this eye-opening book are those of the men on death row who changed Dow's mind about capital punishment forever. You'll meet Johnny Joe Martinez, for instance, who was executed despite the fact that Dow convinced the court that he had strong grounds for an appeal. Martinez had exhausted his right of appeal when his lawyer wrote a mere seventeen-line-long appeal; he was executed on a technicality. Roger Coleman was denied an appeal because, although his lawyers mailed the appeal notice on time, it was received literally one day too late; he was executed because his lawyers failed to use registered mail. Another inmate was executed despite his court-appointed lawyer's shocking and demonstrable incompetence: the lawyer arrived at the courtroom drunk and snorted cocaine in the bathroom during breaks in the testimony. All of these men were executed on technicalities.These concrete accounts of the people Dow has known and represented prove that the death penalty is consistently unjust, and it's precisely this fundamental-and lethal-injustice, Dow convincingly argues, that should compel us to abandon the system altogether.

Synopsis:

When David Dow took his first capital case, he supported the death penalty. He changed his position as the men on death row became real people to him, and as he came to witness the profound injustices they endured: from coerced confessions to disconcertingly incompetent lawyers; from racist juries and backward judges to a highly arbitrary death penalty system.

It is these concrete accounts of the people Dow has known and represented that prove the death penalty is consistently unjust, and it's precisely this fundamental-and lethal-injustice, Dow argues, that should compel us to abandon the system altogether.

About the Author

David R. Dow is professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and an internationally recognized figure in the fight against the death penalty. He is the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network and has represented more than thirty death row inmates.Regrularly quoted in publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post, Dow is the coeditor of Machinery of Death: The Reality of of America's Death Penalty Regime. He lives in Houston, Texas.

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njcur, August 15, 2009 (view all comments by njcur)
You've heard of criminals that "got off on a technicality" Did you know that people can get killed the same way? This is a very thought provoking book written by a lawyer that had been a death penalty supporter until he came to see the flaws in our system. It is very different from the usual stories about the death penalty. A very readable and very real look at how our courts work. Executed on a Technicality is a must read that points out a problem that we must fix.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780807044193
Author:
Dow, David R.
Publisher:
Beacon Press (MA)
Author:
Dow, David
Location:
Boston
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Criminal Law - General
Subject:
General Law
Subject:
Law : General
Subject:
Penology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
May 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
268
Dimensions:
8.54x5.58x.64 in. .65 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » General

Executed on a Technicality: Lethal Injustice on America's Death Row New Trade Paper
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$27.50 In Stock
Product details 268 pages Beacon Press - English 9780807044193 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , When David Dow took his first capital case, he supported the death penalty. He changed his position as the men on death row became real people to him, and as he came to witness the profound injustices they endured: from coerced confessions to disconcertingly incompetent lawyers; from racist juries and backward judges to a highly arbitrary death penalty system.

It is these concrete accounts of the people Dow has known and represented that prove the death penalty is consistently unjust, and it's precisely this fundamental-and lethal-injustice, Dow argues, that should compel us to abandon the system altogether.

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