As Gawker has done for a couple years now, they sent letters to all the U.S. death row inmates who have execution dates in the upcoming year. Texas inmate Ray Jasper, who is set to be executed later this month, responded with an incredible letter
on his thoughts about the US justice system, race, Christianity, and society as a whole.
posted by gman
on Mar 5, 2014 -
Artist Amy Elkinsbegan corresponding in 2009 with prisoners on death row in California. Of the seven men with whom Elkins made contact in June 2009, she remains in touch with only one, Freddy, who has been held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay since 1995, when he was 16 years of age. Freddy has been incarcerated since he was 13. Parting Words
is "a visual archive of the 500+ prisoners to date executed in the state of Texas."
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Feb 7, 2014 -
On Wednesday, William Van Poyck was executed
by the state of Florida for murdering a prison guard during a botched 1987 attempt to free an imprisoned friend. Poyck spent 25 years in solitary confinement on death row, during which time he wrote to his sister about his life in prison. Since 2005 she has published those letters to a blog called Death Row Diary
. 'Poyck used to write about everything from the novels and history books he was reading and shows he watched on PBS to the state of the world and his own philosophy of life – punctuated by news of the deaths of those around him, from illness, suicide, and execution.' Excerpts
. His final letter.
posted by zarq
on Jun 13, 2013 -
Joe Arridy didn't ask for a last meal. It's doubtful that he even understood the concept.
An article (one page print version)
in Denver Westword News by Alan Prendergast recounts the life of Joe Arridy (1915 - 1939), his conviction and execution and Robert Perske's
later investigation of the case. Perske has documented many cases of innocent people with mental disabilities being coerced into confessions, and he considers the case of Joe Arridy the most telling. [more inside]
posted by tykky
on Sep 25, 2012 -
All this brings me to an Indian I want you to know better than his jury did—Douglas Ray Stankewitz, the longest tenured inmate on California’s death row. Like most Indians who find themselves in a group of non-Indians, he is currently known as Chief, but unlike many Indians, he is proud of the nickname.
The government wants to kill Chief because Theresa Greybeal was shot dead in the course of a robbery by a group of people high on heroin, and there is no question that Chief was one of them. There is a serious question about who pulled the trigger, and juries are reluctant to kill individuals who did not pull the trigger. But as far as his jury knew, Douglas Stankewitz pulled the trigger. And he might have, but we will never know, based on his trial.
posted by latkes
on Jan 15, 2012 -
was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1991. A few days before his execution in February, he was granted a stay
because he was found to be incompetent, a paranoid schizophrenic. Today, the judge has ordered that he be forced to take his medication
so he can be legally put to death.
posted by Roger Dodger
on Apr 12, 2006 -
Here are some ideas
for Thanksgiving dinner, though not a circumstance I'd like to participate in.
If ever there was a time to say Grace before dining, this certainly is one of those times.
Pumpkin pie anyone?
posted by bluedaniel
on Nov 27, 2003 -
Dead Man Eating
is a weblog listing last meals of American prisoners put to death. Often humanizing the prisoners without belittling their crimes, it's a macabre, fascinating read no matter which side of the death penalty debate you're on.
posted by kickerofelves
on Aug 2, 2003 -
(NYT) The death row trifecta: juvenile, retarded and ... proved innocent by DNA testing
But unlike other trifectas, this one will not necessarily get you off the hook. Never mind that the real perpetrator has been identified (due to his prison yard bragging initially and through a DNA perfect match later). One of the great problems of the American criminal justice system is that once an innocent person is trapped in the system, it's extremely difficult to get him — or her — extricated.
posted by magullo
on Jul 14, 2003 -
Want to see some great theater and learn a bit about our great system of justice and capital punishment? Then The Exonerated
may be the show for you.The other night I went to see The Exonerated, which has been playing Off Broadway since last fall and is also appearing in theaters around the country this year. Composed wholly from court records and interviews by playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, this documentary drama recounts true tales of horror from the American criminal-justice system. The actors sit downstage and read their parts as the stories of six innocent citizens condemned to death row unfold. If this sounds like a worthy endeavor, it is; if it sounds dull or didactic, it isn’t.
posted by nofundy
on Jul 3, 2003 -
"Mr. Banks, a man with no prior criminal record, is most likely innocent of the charge that put him on death row. Fearing a tragic miscarriage of justice, three former federal judges (including William Sessions, a former director of the F.B.I.) have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to block Wednesday's execution."So far, no one seems to be listening." [via atrios]
posted by donkeyschlong
on Mar 11, 2003 -
Is forcing a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute cruel and unusual punishment? (NYT link)
A federal appeals court ruled that officials in Arkansas can force a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute. The problem is that the American Medical Association's ethical guidelines prohibits precisely that.
To make the case more surreal, a representative of the Arkansas attorney general's office who argued for the state later said: "The ethical decisions involving doctors are difficult ones, but they are not ones for the courts". Does this mean that COs -Correction Officers- are to figure out for themselves which medication to administer? Do they also call the shots when deciding if the "waiting" patient is sane enough???
posted by magullo
on Feb 11, 2003 -
What will George do?
Gary Graham is on death row and would be president Bush has a decision to make. Only one of six witnesses has identified Graham as the killer and four witnesses say Graham was elsewhere when the crime took place. I'm not saying the death penalty is wrong, but isn't it the greatest injustice of all to be executed for a crime you didn't commit.
posted by jay
on Jun 22, 2000 -