Friday, April 15, 2005

An absolute must-read

There are a lot of really smart lawyers out there doing anti-death penalty work. There are the big names, like Steven Bright or Bryan Stevenson or the legendary Tony Amsterdam. There are names that one day will be big, like Jim Marcus. There are names that aren't big but they should be, like my friend and sometimes blog advisor, Karl Keys.

But I have to say that my favorite lawyer out there has got to be David Dow. Dow wears three hats. He represents a number of people on Texas death row. He is a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center. And he heads up the Texas Innocence Network.

Now Dow wears a fourth hat. He has published a brilliant and amazing book, maybe the most important book published in recent years. It's called Executed on a Technicality: Lethal Injustice on America's Death Row.

Here's a brief description:

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, 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.

Dow’s eye-opening book is captivating because he allows the men, and their cases, to speak for themselves. For instance, one inmate’s lawyer literally slept through his trial; another inmate was executed because the jury never heard from two eyewitnesses who swore he was no the murderer; and yet another inmate was allowed to represent himself at trial despite the fact that his mental imbalance, which included attempts to issue a subpoena to Jesus Christ, was evident.

To read more about the book, to purchase it or even to read the entire first chapter, go here. Folks, I somehow lucked into an advance copy and I can tell you that this book is simply amazing.

1 comment:

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