Not able to see the newsletter?
View this email in your browser >


Dear friends,

It's been a while since our last newsletter. I've been focused on getting my new book, River of Fire, to my publisher (done!); my communications director, Rose, has been focused on making the premiere of Joe Cardona's film, SISTER, a success (done!); and my Twitter man, Griffin, has spent his summer between the first and second years of law school at Michigan working with a public defender's office (well done!).

Now, it's time to reconnect with you. And what better day to do it than this election day?

How are you feeling? Trepidatious? Excited? Sick to your stomach? Eager? Determined? I've been feeling a bit of all of those things at different times leading up to this election, where I believe we have a clear choice between justice and injustice, compassion and callousness, inclusion and exclusion, dignity for all and dignity reserved only for those like us.

However you feel at this time, I hope you don't feel apathetic. I hope, even if you feel some disillusionment or disempowerment, you don't toss away your right to vote. It's a right that people marched for, that people died for. Please exercise this precious right today.

(If you're not sure where or how to vote, click the image below - it will take you to the non-partisan

From the heart,

Vote Today

SISTER - Coming to your local PBS station

SISTER programSince 2014, director Joe Cardona and cinematographer José L. Vázquez have been traveling around the country filming for SISTER. It's a film about my life and work. It's a film about my sisterhood, the Congregation of St Joseph. It's a film about how nuns have changed in the past 50 or 60 years to meet the needs and challenges of the world. It's about the guilty and the innocent, about hurt and forgiveness. And it's excellent. Joe knows how to let people tell their own stories, and Jose knows how to shoot a documentary with the eye of an artist.

SISTER was premiered in New Orleans and Miami in September and had its first public broadcast on PBS South Florida (the station is co-producer of the documentary). It will get wide distribution on PBS in 2019. We'll give you a heads up when that begins, but you'll need to keep an eye out for it on your local PBS schedule.

In the meantime, you can sign up and we'll let you know when the two-hour "director's cut" is available on DVD. Shoehorning SISTER into the 54 minutes allowed by PBS meant that Joe had to make "heartbreaking cuts" to the footage. The DVD restores that material. You'll want to see it. The DVD will be released in 2019. You'll find a sign-up form on the front page of our newly designed website - sign up now and we'll let you know when it's available.
River of Fire is finally in the hands of Random House and now we're at the stage of designing the cover. This photo from over half a century ago is used in the documentary, SISTER. I think it'll end up on the book cover, too.

"The lesser of two evils"

Those who still regard lethal injection as a humane way to kill a human being might want to reflect on the execution of Edmund Zagorski on the first day of this month.

Imprisoned in Tennessee, Ed was the 134th person to face execution there. At the time of his trial in 1984, the jury was not given an opportunity to sentence him to life without parole; the only option was a death sentence. Yet in the weeks preceding his execution six members of that jury made a plea for clemency, saying that had life without parole been an option, that is what they would have chosen.

Convicted and sentenced to death, Ed found himself in one of the few states to offer a choice of execution method: lethal injection or the electric chair.

Use of the electric chair, of course, has been discontinued in most states because "public standards of decency" have evolved to the point where it is almost universally regarded as barbaric. Sterile, clinical, clean lethal injection has become the method of choice for doing away with those convicted of capital crimes.

Ed Zagorski chose the electric chair over lethal injection. He did so not because he wanted a more horrendous way to die, but because he wanted a less horrendous one. He called it "the lesser of two evils".

As Ed's lawyer, Kelley Henry, said:

“Horrifically, Mr. Zagorski was forced to choose between 10 to 18 minutes of chemically burning from the inside while paralyzed or being literally burned to death in less than a minute.”

The men and women on death row know what's been happening with lethal injections. They follow the news about botched executions that take more than an hour. They've read Justice Sotomayor's dissenting opinion in Glossip v. Gross where she talks about lethal injection as potentially "
a method of execu­tion that is intolerably painful—even to the point of being the chemical equivalent of burning alive".

We all need to recognize what those on death row know: that lethal injections are monstrous and - the greater truth - that there is no humane way to kill a conscious, aware human being.

Upcoming Executions

The death chambers of Texas and Tennessee remain active for the rest of 2018.

6     OH     Lance Hundley - STAYED (legally premature)
7     TX     Emanuel Kemp - STAYED
14    OH     John David Stumpf - RESCHEDULED
14    TX     Robert Moreno Ramos
28    TN     Sedrick Clayton - legally premature

4     TX     Joseph Garcia
6     TN     David Earl Miller
11    TX     Alvin Braziel


We’d love to hear from you.

Let us know what you’d like to see in future editions of Death Penalty Discourse, what tools and resources you’re using in your community, and how Dead Man Walking has impacted your life. Contact us by email and like us on Facebook for updates and current news.


Copyright © 2018 Ministry Against the Death Penalty, All rights reserved.

Unsubscribe from this list   
Update subscription preferences