A Death Row Lawyer Speaks Out Against Capital Punishment
Publication Year: 1997
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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I have on my shelf three and a half feet of books about the death penalty in America, and it is the tip of an iceberg. I've read down below the waterline, nowhere near the bottom, but far enough to know that this book is unlike any other. There are books that describe the process...
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1. Deathwatch: A Sort of Introduction
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Capital punishment is here to stay. Important battles remain, but the war is over. We lost.
For the first 14 years of my professional life as a lawyer, I worked within the legal system to prevent the state from executing some of its citizens. In 1995, I decided that I could no longer in...
2. Judge Robert S. Vance: The Hanging Judge Who Hated Capital Punishment
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My father always wanted me to become a doctor and to try to save lives I guess I got it half right.
Nanci Griffith has a song: "I am a child of the sixties / where dreams could be held on TV / with Disney and Cronkite and Martin Luther / and I believed, I believed, I believed." ...
3. Florida Fragments: A Montage of a Lawyer's Life of Death
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As my allotted year as Judge Vance's death clerk ended, I found myself thinking a lot about death and his lawyers. Robert Vance was a fine and heroic man, and he was a scrupulously fair and impartial judge; had he not been on the bench, things would have been much, much worse...
4. On Metaphors, Mirrors, and Murders: Theodore Bundy and the Rule of Law
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During my time in Florida deathwork, Theodore Bundy served as a kind of background radiation—a legalistic version of the vestigial heat from the Big Bang, 2.7 degrees Kelvin, which bathes the cosmos. I first encountered the Bundy phenomenon up close, in a professional capacity...
5. Why I Did Deathwork: Pressing the Law to Keep Its Promises
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"When it comes to death," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "all of us are children." I lack the language to capture in words how personally rewarding and satisfying, as well as how terrifying and stressful and beautiful, capital postconviction work can be. I'm at best a mediocre writer with a hell of a story to tell. ...
6. "On Strike, Shut It Down" : A Apologia for Conscientious Abstention from the Machinery of Death
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How ought capital postconviction defense lawyers to respond to the system I have been describing? This being America, capital punishment the social issue has become capital punishment the legal and constitutional issue. For a time (roughly 1972 to early 1983), the Supreme Court...
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In January 1996, Seminole County, Florida, Circuit Judge O. H. Eaton, Jr., conducted an eight-day evidentiary hearing in Spaziano v. State. After the hearing, Judge Eaton ordered a new trial for Mr. Spaziano. Judge Eaton's unpublished opinion reads as follows: ...
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Publication Year: 1997