Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Haunted Oak

Okay, I still have trees on the brain. I'm thinking of the Paul Lawrence Dunbar poem about a lynching, The Haunted Oak,
My leaves were green as the best, I trow,
And sap ran free in my veins,
But I saw in the moonlight dim and weird
A guiltless victim's pains.
Two major campaigns were launched in the last few days focusing on the issue of innocence and the death penalty. The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has a new action and education package focusing on four cases of innocent men who have been executed. These innocence cases came to light as a result of thorough investigative journalism by reporters working for the Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. If you missed the original reporting this is a great way to catch up on the best evidence that innocents have been executed.

The Innocence Project also has a campaign up to draw attention to the 200 exoneree milestone that was reached this week.

Meanwhile, we are keeping an eye on the May 8 hearing instigated by State Senator Gloria Romero into the building of the secret death chamber at San Quentin. Time to drop your state senator a line and let them know that you're happy that this wasteful construction has stopped but that the process of finding a new execution method needs to be as public as possible and should engage the notion that its not just the methodology that's flawed, but that the death penalty itself is ineffective as a crime deterrent, arbitrary, racist and holds too much risk of executing the innocent (see above!). At the very least, executions should be put on hold in our state until the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice completes its report on the death penalty.

Click here to look up contact info for your California State Senator.
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