Future Dean Sacked Over Death Penalty Views

September 13, 2007

News Update 09.13.07

North Carolina

Erwin Chemerinsky, Duke Law School’s own god of constitutional law, signed a contract on September 4th to become the first dean of the new law school at UC-Irvine. Yesterday, the school rescinded their offer, apparently upset over Chemerinsky’s criticism of the DOJ’s plan to give the Attorney General more control over capital cases. Pretty much everyone thinks this was a bad move on UCI’s part. Samples: one and two. Your loss, California.


Since the Supreme Court decided Coker v. Georgia in 1977, no one has been executed in the United States for the crime of rape. But the Court’s decision applied only to the rape of an adult woman. A Louisiana man, facing death for the rape of an 8-year-old girl, is asking the court to consider whether his death sentence is constitutional. You can read Patrick Kennedy’s entire petition here. Kennedy is the only person on death row in the United States for a non-homicide crime.

C/o Abolish, an op-ed from Tennessee that raises interesting questions about how we use the death penalty to purge society of those we consider responsible for our breakdown. (The inmate discussed in the piece, Daryl Holton, has since been executed.)

A Texas inmate has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its 1949 decision allowing the state to use hearsay evidence (inadmissible in any other criminal proceeding) to obtain a sentence of death. Sherman Lamont Fields argues that the Confrontation Clause should entitle him to directly question all of the witnesses against him.

Also from Texas, an interview with a 23-year-old woman on death row. Chelsea Richardson says, “Jail is hell. Prison is hell. Death Row is terrifying. You are told, ‘They are going to kill you’…there is no moment when you don’t know you are under a death sentence. There is no moment of freedom unless you are asleep….And even then, sometimes it seeps in.” (C/o StandDown)

From MVFHR, more thoughtful writing from those touched by of terrorism. Here, a survivor and widow of the 1998 embassy bombings reflects on speaking to a potentially hostile audience at Ole Miss. Here, a look at the relationship formed between the parents of a man killed on 9/11 and the mother of one of the men responsible for the attacks.


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