When David Dow took his first capital case, he supported the death penalty. He changed his position as the men on death row became real people to him, and as he came to witness the profound injustices they endured: from coerced confessions to disconcertingly incompetent lawyers; from racist juries and backward judges to a highly arbitrary death penalty system.
It is these concrete accounts of the people Dow has known and represented that prove the death penalty is consistently unjust, and it's precisely this fundamental-and lethal-injustice, Dow argues, that should compel us to abandon the system altogether.
About the Author
DAVID R. DOW is University Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston Law Center and Visiting Professor of History at Rice University. His areas of expertise include contracts, constitutional law, and death penalty law. He has handled more than fifty appeals, including 25 death penalty appeals. He earned his J.D. from Yale University, where he was an editor on the Yale Law Journal. He is the author of three books, including Executed on a Technicality (2005) and Machinery of Death (2002), and more than one hundred book chapters and professional articles. His essays and editorials on abortion, polygamy, gay marriage, affirmative action, separation of church and state, biblical law, and judicial activism have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Progressive, The Houston Chronicle, and The Dallas Morning News.
An honorably dispassionate and logical broadside against a shameful practice.
"Dow reveals the dirty little secret of American death-penalty litigation: procedure trumps innocence . . . [His book] is insightful and full of the kinds of revelations that may lead readers to reconsider their stand on the death penalty."—Steve Mills, Chicago Tribune
"Dow's book leaves all else behind. It is powerful, direct, informative, and told in compelling human terms. He makes us see that the issue is not sentiment or retribution or even innocence. It is justice."—Anthony Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning former columnist for the New York Times
David R. Dow is professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and an internationally recognized figure in the fight against the death penalty. He is the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network and has represented more than thirty death row inmates. Regularly quoted in publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post, Dow lives in Houston, Texas.