Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You too, back and forth?

"Do you have any personal connection with the death penalty?"

All of the twenty-five or so of us present yesterday afternoon in 220 Phillips Hall on the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill were invited to think about that by session moderator Barbara Friedman, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. We were there as part of the incoming freshman class's summer reading program to read and discuss Sister Helen Prejean's book The Death of Innocents.

When it came my turn to introduce myself, I said that, "Contrary to appearances, I am not the oldest freshman on the Carolina campus. I was a freshman forty-seven years ago." After a little polite laughter, I explained that I was there as a guest of Chris Mumma, who wrote a blurb for a book I edited on the criminal justice system. "In fact, Sister Helen wrote a blurb for it too."

Chris Mumma, who co-moderated the discussion, is an attorney, an adjunct member of the faculty of the UNC School of Law, and the executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence. She explained that the book in question is Jingle Jangle, written by Jim Rix, the cousin of Ray Krone, the one hundredth Death Row convict exonerated since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the moratorium on capital punishment in 1973. "It's a great book," Chris said. [Note: Rix himself advocates neither for nor against the death penalty. He's against wrongful convictions, whether capital or not.]

At first, only a couple of the freshman thought that the death penalty affected them personally in any way. They didn't know anyone whose family included either a victim of a capital crime or anyone indicted for a capital crime. Or, as one of an impressively poised and articulate pair of twin brothers who were present said, "I've never been on Death Row, and I don't know anyone who has."

After more than an hour's discussion of the book, consideration of statistics about capital sentences, and some discussion of aggravating and mitigating circumstances, Professor Friedman repeated the question: "Do you think now that you may have a personal connection with the death penalty?"

Until that moment I hadn't said anything beyond briefly introducing myself along with everyone else and answering a question about the circumstances surrounding Ray Krone's being swept up into the criminal justice system. But now I felt compelled to say, "You know, I think that, in a way, capital punishment affects everyone of us personally. Working on Jingle Jangle made me realize—and I think that another of the blurb writers actually said this1—that if Ray Krone could end up on Death Row, it could happen to anyone." A long enough silence followed to make me think that I might have made a point.

We were asked to raise our hand if The Death of Innocents achieved its stated objective of turning us against the death penalty. I think that about half of the participants raised a hand, including myself, although it has been a few years since I came down against the death penalty. There wasn't time for me to summarize my years of going back and forth, maddeningly back and forth on the question of capital punishment. I might have said that one of the most memorable high school activities I engaged in had been debating capital punishment in English class. On the occasion, I argued against it. But over the years, I continued to go back and forth on the question. I was for it for a while, then I was against it...until my opinion swung back the other way, only to teeter there for a while before tottering back. It was agonizing. I'm not sure that I'm right today, and I don't think being right was the reason I finally decided to just be against the death penalty, period. I needed to put myself out of misery. Chris Mumma, too, told the group that she herself had previously advocated for the death penalty. She had heard about murders that made her so angry, "I could have killed the murderer myself." But today she is a North Carolina coordinator of innocence projects2.

My personal reason for finally opposing the death penalty was almost stated by one of the freshmen, who identified the reason as a religious one, though he didn't necessarily subscribe to it himself: Just as the person who commits a capital crime doesn't have the right to kill, neither do we, as a society, have the right to take a life, regardless of the crime or how sure we are the person did it. My own version of the reason would have included something about how I think that we as human beings harm ourselves by condoning executions. And I don't think of this as a "religious" reason, but as a humanistic reason.

It helps me to believe this even more easily to have been reminded by the book discussion that capital punishment very likely doesn't deter anyone from committing a capital crime (most murders are not premeditated anyway), judicial procedures involving the death penalty cost a lot more than those involving life sentences, the death penalty is administered unfairly, and mistakes continue to be made (for the reasons Jim Rix analyzes in Jingle Jangle) and lead to the deaths of innocents....

  1. Rachel King, author of Don't Kill in Our Names and Capital Consequences, recommended Jingle Jangle by saying:
    Jim Rix has written an astonishing memoir about his cousin Ray Krone's wrongful conviction for a 1991 Arizona murder. Rix meticulously details every aspect of police corruption, prosecutorial misconduct, defense incompetence, expert witness tampering and jury shenanigans that led to Ray's decade-long nightmare. But Rix doesn't stop there. He dissects each problem, then with careful research explains how it is not an isolated incident but part of a larger pattern of problems in the criminal justice system. Rix's wry humor and occasional sarcasm reveal the depths of his despair at realizing that the justice system, which he once trusted, is so deeply flawed. Scariest about this true story is that if Ray Krone, an honest, law-abiding person, could end up on Death Row, it could happen to anyone.
  2. Chris Mumma's blurb for Jingle Jangle:
    Ray Krone's story has so many of the elements we see over and over again in innocence cases—unreliable forensic conclusions, incomplete investigations and overvalued testimony resulting from "confirmatory bias" that occurs because everyone thinks they have the right perpetrator and they ignore evidence to the contrary. Once the conviction occurs, it typically takes extraordinary luck and the work of an individual or the media to get to the truth because the justice system prefers finality. There are more Ray Krones out there—there just aren't many who are lucky enough to have a cousin like Ray's.


  1. III. Death Of Truth: Sister Prejean's new book Death Of Innocents

    For some years, there has existed a consistent pattern, from death penalty opponents, to declare certain death row inmates to be actually innocent. Those claims have, consistently, been 70-83% in error. ("ALL INNOCENCE ISSUES -- THE DEATH PENALTY")

    Keep that in mind with "Death of Innocents".

    Readers should be very careful, as they have no way of knowing if any of the fact issues in either of the two cases, as presented by Sister Prejean, are true. Readers would have to conduct their own thorough, independent examination to make that determination. You can start here.

    Four articles


    quote: "The DNA report commissioned by O'Dell and his lawyers actually corroborates O'Dell's guilt. There is a three-probe DNA match indicating that the bloodstains on O'Dell's clothing is indeed consistent with the victim Helen Schartner's DNA as well as her blood type and enzyme factors." "There is certainly no truth to O'Dell's accusation that evidence was suppressed or witnesses intimidated by the prosecution."

    (b) "Sabine district attorney disputes author's claims in book"

    quote: "I don't know whether she is deliberately trying to mislead the public or if she's being mislead by others. But she's wrong,"
    District Atty. Burkett, dburkett(AT)cp-tel.net

    (c) Book Review: "Sister Prejean's Lack of Credibility: Review of "The Death of Innocents", by Thomas M. McKenna (New Oxford Review, 12/05).

    "The book is moreover riddled with factual errors and misrepresentations."

    "Williams had confessed to repeatedly stabbing his victim, Sonya Knippers."

    "This DNA test was performed by an independent lab in Dallas, which concluded that there was a one in nearly four billion chance that the blood could have been someone's other than Williams's."

    " . . . despite repeated claims that (Prejean) cares about crime victims, implies that the victim's husband was a more likely suspect but was overlooked because the authorities wanted to convict a black man."

    " . . . a Federal District Court . . . stated that 'the evidence against Williams was overwhelming.' " "The same court also did "not find any evidence of racial bias specific to this case."

    "(Prejean's) broad brush strokes paint individual jurors, prosecutors, and judges with the term "racist" with no facts, no evidence, and, in most cases, without so much as having spoken with the people she accuses."

    "Sr. Prejean also claims that Dobie Williams was mentally retarded. But the same federal judge who thought he deserved a new sentencing hearing also upheld the finding of the state Sanity Commission report on Williams, which concluded that he had a "low-average I.Q.," and did not suffer from schizophrenia or other major affective disorders. Indeed, Williams's own expert at trial concluded that Williams's intelligence fell within the "normal" range. Prejean mentions none of these facts."

    "In addition to lying to the police about how he came to have blood on his clothes, the best evidence of O'Dell's guilt was that Schartner's (the rape/murder vicitim's) blood was on his jacket. Testing showed that only three of every thousand people share the same blood characteristics as Schartner. Also, a cellmate of O'Dell's testified that O'Dell told him he killed Schartner because she would not have sex with him."

    "After the trial, LifeCodes, a DNA lab that O'Dell himself praised as having "an impeccable reputation," tested the blood on O'Dell's jacket -- and found that it was a genetic match to Schartner. When the results were not to his liking, O'Dell, and of course Sr. Prejean, attacked the reliability of the lab O'Dell had earlier praised. Again, as with Williams's conviction, the federal court reviewing the case characterized the evidence against O'Dell as 'vast' and
    'overwhelming.' "

    Sr. Prejean again sees nefarious forces at work. Not racism this time, for O'Dell was white. Rather, she charges that the prosecutors were motivated to convict by desire for advancement and judgeships. Yet she never contacted the prosecutors to interview them or anyone who might substantiate such a charge.

    "(Prejean) omits the most damning portion of (O'Dell's criminal) record: an abduction charge in Florida where O'Dell struck the victim on the head with a gun and told her that he was going to rape her. This very similar crime helped the jury conclude that O'Dell would be a future threat to society. It supports the other evidence of his guilt and thus undermines Prejean's claim of innocence."

    "There is thus a moral equivalence for Prejean between the family of an innocent victim and the newfound girlfriend of a convicted rapist and murderer."

    "This curious definition of "the victims" suggests that her concern for "victims" seems to be more window-dressing for her cause than true concern."

    (d) Hardly The Death Of Innocents: Sister Prejean tells it like it wasn't -- Joseph O'Dell
    by Anonymous, at author's request

    In lionizing convicted murderer Joseph O'Dell as being an innocent man railroaded to his 1997 execution by Virginia prosecutors, Sister Helen Prejean presents a skewed summary of the case to bolster her anti-death penalty agenda. While she is a gifted speaker, she is out of her element when it comes to "telling it as it was" in these cases.

    Prejean got to walk with O'Dell into the death chamber at Greensville Correctional Center on July 22, 1997. However, she wasn't in Virginia Beach some 12 years earlier when he committed the crime for which he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. That is where the real demon was evident, not the sweet talking condemned con-man that she met behind bars. O'Dell was, in the words of then Virginia Beach Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Albert Alberi (case prosecutor), one of the most savage, dangerous criminals he had encountered in a two decade career.

    Indeed,O'Dell had spent most of his adult life incarcerated for various crimes since the age of 13 in the mid-1950's. At the time of the Schartner murder in Virginia, O'Dell had been recently paroled from Florida where he had been serving a 99 year sentence for a 1976 Jacksonville abduction that almost ended in a murder of the female victim (had not police arrived) in the back of his car.

    The circumstances of that crime were almost identical to those surrounding Schartner's murder. The victim of the Florida case even showed up in Virginia to testify at the trial. Scarcely a mention of this case is made in the Prejean book.

    Briefly, let me outline some of the facts about the case: Victim Helen Schartner's blood was found on the passenger seat of Joseph O'Dell's vehicle. Tire tracks matching those on O'Dell's vehicle were found at the scene where Miss Schartner's body was found. The tire tread design on O'Dell's vehicle wheels were so unique, an expert in tire design couldn't match them in a manual of thousands of other tire treads. The seminal fluids found on the victim's body matched those of Mr. O'Dell and pubic hairs of the victim were found on the floor of his car.

    The claims that O'Dell was "denied" his opportunity to present new DNA evidence on appeals were frivolous. In fact, he had every opportunity to come forward with this evidence, but his lawyers refused to reveal to the court the full findings of the tests which they had arranged to be done on a shirt with blood stains, which O'Dell's counsel claimed might show did not have the blood marks from the defendant or the victim.

    Manipulative defense lawyer tactics were overlooked by Prejean in her narrative. O'Dell was far from a victim of poor counsel. As matter of fact, the city of Virginia Beach and state government gave O'Dell an estimated $100,000 for his defense team at trial. This unprecedented amount nearly bankrupted the entire indigent defense fund for the state. He had great lawyers, expert forensic investigators and every point at the trial was contested two to five times.

    There was no "rush to justice" in this case.

    O'Dell's alibi for the night of Schartner's murder was that he had gotten thrown out of the bar where he encountered Schartner following a brawl. However, none of the several dozen individuals supported his contention - there weren't any fights that night. Rather, several saw Miss Schartner getting into O'Dell's car on what would be her last ride.

    But Prejean would want us to believe the claims of felon Joseph O'Dell.He had three trips to the United States Supreme Court and the "procedural error" which Prejean claims ultimately doomed him was the result of simple ignorance of basic appeals rules by his lawyers.

    Nothing in the record ever suggested that Joseph O'Dell, two time killer and rapist, was anything but guilty of the murder of Helen Schartner.

    Justice was properly served.

    Sister Helen Prejean ; her death penalty disinformation
    Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
    I. Dead Family Walking : The Bourque Family Story of Dead Man Walking , by D. D. deVinci, Goldlamp Publishing, 2006
    " . . .makes you realize the Dead Man Walking truly belongs on the shelf in the library in the Fiction category."
    "Being devout Catholics, 'the norm' would be to look to the church for support and healing. Again, this need for spiritual stability was stolen by Sister Prejean."
    The book alleges whole cloth fabrications by Sister Prejean within her book "Dead Man Walking".
    "On November 5, 1977, the Bourque's teenage daughter, Loretta, was found murdered in a  trash pile near the city of New Iberia, Louisiana lying side by side near her boyfriend–with three well-placed bullet holes behind each head. "
    contact     T.J. Edler, 337-967-0840, infogoldlamp(at)aol.com

    II.  The Victims of Dead Man Walking
    by Michael L. Varnado, Daniel P. Smith
    comment --  A very different story than that written by Sister Helen Prejean. Detective Varnado was the investigating officer in the murder of Faith Hathaway. 2003
    Detective Varnado writes: "For those who believe in the teachings of Sister Helen Prejean as her journey continues in her effort to abolish the death penalty. 'For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And, no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:13 & 14'  " --  From Detective Varnado's new book Soft Targets; A Women's Guide To Survival

    IV.   Sister Helen Prejean on the death penalty
    "It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical ‘proof text’ in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus’ admonition ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone,’ when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) - the Mosaic Law prescribed death - should be read in its proper context. This passage is an ‘entrapment’ story, which sought to show Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment .” Sister Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking.
    The sister’s analysis is consistent with much theological scholarship. Also, much scholarship questions the authenticity of John 8:7.
    From here, the sister states that “ . . .  more and more I find myself steering away from such futile discussions (of Biblical text). Instead, I try to articulate what I personally believe . . . ” The sister has never shied away from any argument, futile or otherwise, which opposed the death penalty. She has abandoned biblical text for only one reason: the text conflicts with her personal beliefs.
    Sister Prejean rightly cautions: "Many people sift through the Scriptures and select truth according to their own templates." (Progressive, 1/96). Sadly, Sister Prejean appears to do much worse. The sister now uses that very same biblical text “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone” as proof of Jesus’ “unequivocal” rejection of capital punishment as “revenge and unholy retribution”!  (see Sister Prejean’s 12/12/96 fundraising letter on behalf of the Saga Of Shame book project for Quixote Center/Equal Justice USA).
    V. On God and the death penalty
    It is not uncommon for persons of faith to create a god in their own image, to give to that god their values, instead of accepting those values which are inherent to the deity. For example, death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) states, in reference to the death penalty, that "I couldn’t worship a god who is less compassionate than I am."(Progressive, 1/96). She has, thereby, established  her standard of compassion as the basis for God’s being deserving of her devotion. If God’s level of compassion does not rise to the level of her own, God couldn’t receive her worship. Director Tim Robbins (Death Man Walking) follows that same path: "(I) don’t believe in that kind of (g)od (that would support capital punishment and, therefore, would be the kind of god who tortures people into their redemption)." ("Opposing The Death Penalty", AMERICA, 11/9/96, p 12). Robbins, hereby, establishes his standard for his God’s deserving of his belief. God’s standards do not seem to be relevant. His sophomoric comparison of capital punishment and torture is typical of the ignorance in this debate and such comments reflect no biblical relevancy. Perhaps they should review Matthew 5:17-22 and 15:1-9. Be cautious, for as the ancient rabbis warned, "Do not seek to be more righteous than your creator." (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7.33)
    VI. Redemption and the death penalty
    The movie Dead Man Walking reveals a perfect example of how just punishment and redemption can work together. Had rapist/murderer Matthew Poncelet not been properly sentenced to death by the civil authority, he would not have met Sister Prejean, he would not have received spiritual instruction, he would not have taken responsibility for his crimes and he would not have reconciled with God. Had Poncelet never been caught or had he only been given a prison sentence, his character makes it VERY clear that those elements would not have come together. Indeed, for the entire film and up until those last moments, prior to his execution, Poncelet was not truthful with Sister Prejean. His lying and manipulative nature was fully exposed at that crucial time. It was not at all surprising, then, that it was just prior to his execution that all of the spiritual elements may have come together for his salvation. It was now, or never. Truly, just as St. Aquinas stated, it was Poncelet's pending execution which may have led to his repentance. For Christians, the most crucial concerns of Dead Man Walking must be and are redemption and eternal salvation. And,  for that reason, it may well be, for Christians, the most important pro-death penalty movie ever made.
    A real life example of this may be the case of Dennis Gentry, executed April 16, 1997, for the premeditated murder of his friend Jimmy Don Ham. During his final statement, Gentry said, "I’d like to thank the Lord for the past 14 years (on death row) to grow as a man and mature enough to accept what’s happening here tonight. To my family, I’m happy. I’m going home to Jesus." As the lethal drugs began to flow, Gentry cried out, "Sweet Jesus, here I come. Take me home. I’m going that way to see the Lord." (Michael Gracyk, Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, 4/17/97).  We cannot know if Gentry or the fictitious Poncelet or the two real murderers from the DMW book really did repent and receive salvation.
    But, we do know that St. Aquinas advises us that murderers should not be given the benefit of the doubt. We should err on the side of caution and not give murderers the opportunity to harm again.
    "The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgement that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers." St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, 146.
    Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
    e-mail  sharpjfa(AT)aol.com,  713-622-5491,
    Houston, Texas

    Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-Span, Court TV, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
    A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
    Pro death penalty sites 
    www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_contents.htm  (Sweden)
    Permission for distribution of this document is approved as long as it is distributed in its entirety, without changes, inclusive of this statement.

  2. I asked Ray Krone, who spent ten years in prison before being exonerated and released, and who now works with Sister Helen occasionally, whether he'd ever heard of Dudley Sharp. Ray responded today: "Yeah, Dudley has been spouting off for years. He's out of Texas with some group like 'Justice for All' or some such thing. I think he was a victim at some time because he is full of a lot of distortion and anger, in an open discussion he actually sounds like a complete misinformed moron."

    I told Ray that Dudley did give me the impression of being a wingnut of some stripe or other.

  3. no distortion, nor anger, nor can you or Krone come up with any. Fairly standard deceptions from antis.


    To: The UNC-Chapel Hill community

    WHAT: “Criminal/Justice: The Death Penalty Examined” a year long study of the death penalty at UNC-Chapel Hill. Carolina Performing Arts received the $103,165 grant in April, 2007 to coordinate the project.

    The public face of this project is to present a fair and even handed look at the death penalty. As the UNC-CH news release stated:

    "The university has no position on capital punishment but seeks, rather, to inform debate on a complex issue that is ongoing across the country and in North Carolina." “Without in any way dictating a point of view, we nonetheless believe it is important to have a civil and informed discussion about this controversial issue." “Universities are the bedrock of free inquiry, places where beliefs are challenged and arguments are honed.”

    REALITY: This project could hardly be more anti death penalty, while its pretense of fairness is a total farce. At some point, the "bedrock of free inquiry" became the bedrock of indoctrination.


    Below is a nearly complete review of the year long events and people associated with them, with a POSITION, my commentary, after each one. Omissions, if any, were unintentional.

    1) The project was undertaken in conjunction with this year’s summer reading program at UNC, This year’s book – “The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions,” by Sister Helen Prejean – was discussed in approximately 120 groups at UNC-Chapel Hill, on Aug. 20, 2007.

    POSITION: The Death of Innocents is an blunt anti death penalty book wherein either willful ignorance or intentional deception was integral to the two subject cases of "innocents executed". Written by the most well known anti death penalty activist within the US, Sister Helen Prejean. Strictly indoctrination. Those who selected this book for summer reading did so either knowing of its nature or willfully ignorant of it by the lack of fact checking. Neither are good methods of selection, unless the primary purpose was to push the anti death penalty agenda, which appears obvious.

    2) John Charles “Jack” Boger, dean, UNC School of Law. Member, planning committee for the project, litigated capital punishment cases for a decade while on the staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

    POSITION: anti death penalty

    3) An Evening with Nick Yarris, lecture. 8/20/08. An alleged actual innocent released from death row.

    POSITION: anti death penalty.

    4) After Innocence, film, 8/26/06. The story of 7 alleged actually innocent people released from death row.

    POSITION: anti death penalty

    5) “The Death of Innocents,” Sept. 8, a reading/play. Sister Maureen Fenlon, national coordinator for the Dead Man Walking Theatre Project, will introduce the reading.

    POSITION: same as 1, above.

    6) Malaquias Montoya, artist, exhibit. Fall, 2007

    POSITION: actively supporting anti death penalty movement through art and donations.

    7) Execution and William Neal Moore, film and presentation, Fall, 2007

    POSITION: Anti death penalty. Moore is a confessed robber/murderer and former death row inmate.

    8) The Ethical Issues of Capital Punishment, 10/2/07. Discussion. The Parr Center for Ethics.

    Presentations by
    Ryan Presley, member of the UNC Chapter of Campaign to End the Death Penalty. anti death penalty
    and Caroline Elliot, a member of UNC Law Death Penalty Project, an anti death penalty project.

    Panelists are:
    Carl Fox, North Carolina Superior Court Judge, neutral? was elected DA 6 times. Don't know if he ever sought a death sentence. Did he?
    Mark Kleinschmidt, Executive Director – The Fair Trial Initiative, Chapel Hill Town Council Member, anti death penalty.
    Tony Queen, Executive Director - NC Victim Assistance Network, pro death penalty
    Richard Rosen, Professor of Law at UNC School of Law, anti death penalty.
    Randall Styers, Associate Professor of Religion at UNC Chapel Hill, anti death penalty.
    Kristen Bell, a graduate student in Philosophy, anti death penalty
    Moderator: Joe Kennedy, Professor of Law at UNC School of Law, anti death penalty

    POSITION: 7 known anti death penalty participants. One known pro death penalty participant.

    9) Coyote on a Fence 10/12/07, a play.

    POSITION: anti death penalty

    10) talk by playwright and performance artist Anna Deavere Smith. Oct. 16

    POSITION: anti death penalty

    11) Crime & Punishment: Rethinking the Death Penalty, 11/9-10/07. Discussion. http://www.unc.edu/depts/human/level_3/2007_fall/Crime&Punishment.htmhttp://www.unc.edu/depts/human/level_3/2007_fall/Crime&Punishment.htm

    POSITION: Even the intro for this event has well known anti death penalty deceptions in it. Four participants. One might be pro death penalty.

    12) “Parade,” Nov. 12-13. A play in which Leo Frank, a Jewish man, is portrayed as an innocent lynched in an anti Semitic Atlanta in the early 1900s.

    POSITION: Some believe Frank to be guilty. http://theatre_chick.tripod.com/Phagan.htm
    Frank's death penalty sentence was commuted to life prior to his lynching. I suspect this was meant as an anti death penalty tome, with an alleged wrongful conviction combined with lynch mob mentality, a common false portrayal of the death penalty and its supporters, often provided by the anti death penalty side. Why not put on a play of the Nuremberg trials, instead?

    13) Scott Langley, photo journalist, 1/0/08, photo exhibit.

    POSITION: Langley is a well known anti death penalty activist. Why not an exhibit of photos of the innocent murder victim, living, then dead, in their crime scene photos? Or show the well known pictures of the slaughter in Nazi concentration camps. After all, this is why we have the death penalty, for the specific crimes.

    14) Discussion by Barry Scheck and Susan Estrich, Jan. 17,

    POSITION: Scheck anti. Estrich pro. COMMENT: Likely, the single attempt at balance within the entire project.

    15) Facing Controversy: Struggling with Capital Punishment in North Carolina. exhibit. 1/18/08

    POSITION: Unknown. But the "Controversy:Struggling" title might be an indicator.

    16) “Perspectives on Public Justice,” exhibition, Jan. 18 - May 4, Ackland Art Museum, displaying works of art that engage the theme of justice, presented by the Ackland and students and instructors from the writing program at UNC, who will help organize and interpret the exhibition.

    POSITION: Unknown

    17) The Death Penalty in North Carolina. 2/5/08 discussion. participant: Seth Kotch, UNC-CH history graduate student, anti death penalty. Prof. Trina Seitz, Appalachian State University. NC death penalty historian. Position unknown. N.C. Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, well known anti death penalty.

    POSITION: Two anti death penalty speakers. One unknown and, maybe, leaning anti death penalty.

    18) Doin' Time: Through The Visiting Glass, one woman play by daughter of incarcerated man. 2/8/08 - 8:00 PM

    POSITION: Very sympathetic to criminals. Interviewed 400 incarcerated persons. Unknown if any of their victims or victim survivors were interviewed. It wasn't mentioned. Presume anti death penalty.

    19) “Spectacular Justice,” March 17. a media presentation by Joyce Rudinsky, associate professor of communication studies, spring 2008. video and audio recordings and images that will surround the viewer, offering thoughts about capital punishment.

    POSITION: Unknown. Will they show pictures and videos of the innocent murder victims and describe their lives and dreams that were snuffed out? Will interviews of pro death penalty victim survivors be shown and heard? I am doubtful. We'll see. It must, if fair. Some forget: the crimes and murder victims are the reason the death penalty is imposed.

    20) Sister Helen Prejean. lecture, Feb. 25

    POSITION: She and her work get five separate, major presentations in this year long project, all, virtually, uncontested and unchallenged - summer reading for incoming freshman, 120 discussion groups at school, a reading of Death Of Innocents, a solo talk by Prejean and multiple presentations of the play, "Dead Man Walking".

    21) Still Life, play, 3/26-4/6

    POSITION: presented by The Justice Theater Project, a partner with People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, one of the most anti death penalty groups in NC. The Justice Theater Project is dedicated to the social teachings of the Catholic Church, whose US Bishops have an active campaign against the death penalty. Obviously, anti death penalty.

    22) “Dead Man Walking,” a play. April 18-22.

    POSITION: A play adaptation, by actor/director Tim Robbins of Prejean's "Dead Man Walking" book. Both anti death penalty activists.

    23) “Witness to an Execution,” play, April 23-27, "Inspired by a series of surprisingly candid and chilling interviews that tell the story of death row in the infamous Texas prison system."

    POSITION: Anti death penalty. I presume that pro death penalty victim survivors will not be presented.


    Why don't anti death penalty institutions, such as UNCCH, put on a truly honest and balanced presentation?
    (1) They believe free discussion is based upon freely discussing what they believe - In this case, the anti death penalty position. It is known as the freedom of indoctrination.
    (2) An even balance of ideas and discussion would favor the pro death penalty side. Therefore, some institutions insist their presentations are fair, when, in fact, any neutral person can easily see they are not. Based upon their bias, they cannot have a truly balanced presentation.

    Will this email change anything at UNCCH? Of course not. See 1 and 2, above.

    Being quixotic, I encourage you to distribute this to the student body, faculty and staff at the UNC-CH.

    FROM: Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
    email sharpjfa@aol.com, phone 713-622-5491
    Houston, Texas

    Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

    A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

    Pro death penalty sites


    www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_contents.htm (Sweden)

    Permission for distribution of this document is encouraged, with the request that it is distributed in its entirety, without changes, inclusive of this statement.