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.
It is these concrete accounts of the people Dow has known and represented that prove the death penalty is consistently unjust, and it’s precisely this fundamental—and lethal—injustice, Dow argues, that should compel us to abandon the system altogether.
Baker & Taylor A Texas lawyer who once supported the death penalty shares his change of heart on the subject, presenting stories of real-life death row inmates who were abused by the justice system, coerced into confessing crimes, represented by incompetent lawyers, and subjected to backward judges. 15,000 first printing.