Tuesday, March 30, 2010

“This is pure red meat"

That's what the New York Times Book Review said about David R. Dow's "The Autobiography of an Execution," published this year by Little Brown. MESJ is proud to bring Professor Dow of the University of Houston to the Lemuria "Dot Com" Building on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 for a book signing and discussion. The book signing is at 5 pm and the talk will begin at 5:30.

Please join us!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

MESJ Annual Dinner November 5, 2009

During last Sunday's game between Minnesota and Pittsburgh, I was struck by the fact that I was watching at least two sure-fire Hall of Fame quarterbacks: Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger -- not to mention Adrian Peterson. What a fantastic time to be following the NFL -- like watching Bart Starr or Jim Brown in their prime.

On Thursday evening, November 5, Mississippians Educating for Smart Justice will be celebrating their first annual dinner. Andre' deGruy, director of the Mississippi Office of Capital Defense Counsel, will be honored with the first-ever Kenneth J. Rose Award for Compassionate Advocacy. And Ken Rose himself will be on hand to present the award.

Both Andre' and Ken are sure-fire Hall of Famers. Andre' has set the standard for meticulous preparation and passionate trial advocacy in death penalty cases. The term "compassionate" also applies to his constant focus on his clients, their families, and the victims of crime as individuals who need to be treated with dignity and respect.

Ken Rose, a native of New Orleans, moved to Jackson in the 1980s, where he began representing death sentenced prisoners and teaching others to do so. His concept of "Team Defense" and his insistence that each of his clients were not "killers" but rather individuals -- whose life could not be reduced to their worst act -- inspired and taught those of us who represent death sentenced prisoners today.

Andre' deGruy's style of "compassionate advocacy" mirrors perfectly the early work of Ken Rose -- so the MESJ Board thought this award was a no-brainer. The invitation for this event is below. Please attend if you can (but RSVP first by Monday, November 2, to Jwcraig1959@gmail.com!)

The Knights of Columbus will be catering the event and they are "Hall of Famers" in their own right. Please join us!

MESJ Dinner Invite

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ohio's Botched Execution

The ACLU has this post about the debacle in Ohio involving the attempted execution of Rommell Broom. It's a good read for a quick understanding of some of the problems with lethal execution.

Forum at Delta State University

Thanks to Professor Gary Jennings of Delta State University, who hosted MESJ for a presentation of "Faces of Death Row" at Ewing Hall last night, September 17, 2009. We had a great turnout of very interested students, professors, and members of the community. Folks stayed past 9 pm asking questions and discussing capital punishment, restorative justice, and the quality of counsel appointed to represent poor persons charged with crime. It was a great way to celebrate Constitution Day!