Sept. 15, 2005
To the Editor:
The paltry five sentences (79 words) you gave to coverage of the Sept. 14 Frances Newton execution served only to compound an injustice.
Newton – the first African American woman executed by the state of Texas since the Civil War – was denied adequate review of her sentence. Her execution was not noteworthy because she was a woman, nor because she was African American. It was noteworthy because she may well have been innocent.
The failure of multiple layers of courts, and of officials of the executive branch of Texas’ government to give Newton the comprehensive review she deserved was a failure of American democratic principles and due process. When war abroad and natural tragedy at home dominate the headlines, it is more important than ever to display cases like Newton’s under the light of day – and under the type of public scrutiny that ample media coverage can bring.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Five sentences. Seventy-nine words.
Doubt they'll print it, but I sent the following to the New York Times yesterday: