December 23, 2004
Sister Prejean powerful perspective
Sister Helen Prejean — perhaps the nation's leading death penalty abolitionist and author of Dead Man Walking (which was made into one of the best movies about capital punishment) — has a new soon-to-be-published book entitled The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. Adapted from that book is a powerful article in the current issue of the New York Review of Books entitled "Death in Texas."
Sister Prejean's article, which can be access here, is a stinging indictment of then-Governor George Bush's denials of clemency to death row defendants in Texas. The article recounts a number of old and new stories about how then-Governor Bush found ways to "distance himself from his legal and moral responsibility for executions." (The article reinforces the notion that now-President Bush's stingy approach to pardons (discussed here and here) is in keeping with his long-standing character.)
The entire article is a compelling read, and the article's penultimate paragraph provides a sense of the piece's provocative themes and tone:
As governor, Bush certainly did not stand apart in his routine refusal to deny clemency to death row petitioners, but what does set him apart is the sheer number of executions over which he has presided. Callous indifference to human suffering may also set Bush apart. He may be the only government official to mock a condemned person's plea for mercy, then lie about it afterward, claiming humane feelings he never felt. On the contrary, it seems that Bush is comfortable with using violent solutions to solve troublesome social and political realities.
December 23, 2004 at 02:41 AM | Permalink
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I am a member of the Duneland Coalition Against the Death Penalty, in NW Indiana. Just looking around for more ammunition for the letters I write. Also may be interested in doing a study that would show that jurors that are in favor of the Death Penalty are more likely to find a defendant quilty therefore getting stacked jurys in both phases of a trial.
Posted by: John R. Crise M.D. | May 4, 2005 10:47:10 PM