Monday, January 7, 2008

Talking About Baze

Today the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the Baze v. Rees case, which is about the constitutionality of the current method of lethal injection (does execution by lethal injection violate the 8th amendment's ban against cruel and unusual punishment?). Watch the death penalty blogs (several good ones are on our links list at the right) for news and commentary on this case.

This Friday, January 11th, MVFHR member Aba Gayle and author Joan Cheever will appear on ABC News Now's program "All Together Now" to talk about the death penalty and Baze. The first airing will be at 5:30 p.m., Eastern Time, on the 11th. The show will then air over that weekend and throughout the following week at various times (check local listings at

From the press announcement:

Aba Gayle’s 19- year-old daughter Catherine Blount was murdered in 1980. Aba Gayle spent eight years filled with anger and rage and wanted revenge for her daughter’s murder, being assured by the district attorney that the execution of her daughter’s killer, Douglas Mickey, would result in healing. He was convicted of capital murder and sent to Death Row in San Quentin. But eight years later, Aba Gayle believed that it was time to forgive Mickey in order to start the process of healing; she wrote him a letter to tell him and began her own journey of reconciliation and forgiveness. Aba Gayle has visited San Quentin many times over the years to visit Douglas Mickey, most recently Thanksgiving Day 2007 where she spent the day with him. Aba Gayle is president of the Catherine Blount Foundation and travels across the country and the world speaking and teaching about the healing power of forgiveness. Aba Gayle’s journey from revenge and anger to love and healing is told in Erika Street’s 2006 documentary, “The Closure Myth.”

Joan Cheever’s book Back From The Dead: One woman's search for the men who walked off America's Death Row tells the story of 589 former death row inmates who, through a lottery of fate, were given a second chance at life when the death penalty was abolished in 1972 in the case of Furman v. Georgia. The death penalty returned to the U.S. four years later. In her book, Cheever describes her travels across the country and into the lives and homes of former Death Row inmates, armed only with a tape recorder, notepad, a cell phone that didn’t always work, and a lot of faith. Back from the Dead tells of Cheever’s own journey and reveals tales of second chances: of tragedy and failure, racism and injustice, and redemption and rehabilitation. (John Wiley & Sons 2006).

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