[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----GA., USA, ILL., N.Y., CONN.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Apr 2 23:57:40 UTC 2007
Jones Attorneys Argues Against Death Penalty to GA Supreme Ct
A lawyer argued today that the state should be prevented from seeking the
death penalty for a man who killed his infant daughter and 3 of his
ex-girlfriend's relatives because of an error in an indictment.
The lawyer for Jerry William Jones -- Jack Martin -- told the Georgia
Supreme court that prosecutors failed to allege aggravating factors that
would allow them to seek the death penalty for the 2004 crime spree in
northwest Georgia. Martin says the state should only be allowed to seek a
sentence of life in prison for Jones -- who already has pleaded guilty to
the charges in the case. He also is accused of kidnapping his former
girlfriend's 3 surviving children after the killings.
Martin argued that common law requires that the aggravating factors of the
crime be stated in the indictment with "certainty and precision" for
prosecutors to seek the death penalty. But special prosecutor Laura
Murphree told the high court that the underlying issue Martin was raising
has been made by lawyers in other cases and rejected before. She says the
state provided Jones with proper notice of its intent to seek the death
penalty. She also argued that since Jones pleaded guilty, he effectively
admitted to the aggravating circumstances that make up the crime.
Sentencing for Jones has been put on hold while the state Supreme Court
decides that issue and several others raised by the defense. Jones pleaded
guilty to the January 7th, 2004, killings of Tom and Nola Blaylock, their
daughter Georgia Mae Bradley and Jones' daughter, 10-month-old Jerri Jones
in the town of Ranger. The Blaylocks, who were shot, were the mother and
stepfather of Melissa Peeler, Jones' ex-girlfriend. Bradley and the infant
were strangled with a cord.
(source: Associated Press)
Ten Commandments: Fitting revenge into the equation----Local man whose
sister was murdered shares views on 'Thou shalt not kill'
"Sometimes you just have to thin the herd." ~ Dennis Miller
"Does it make sense to hire murderers to kill defenseless victims on death
row, in order to prove that hiring murderers to kill defenseless victims
is morally wrong?" ~ "Thirteen Albatrosses: (or, Falling Off the
Mountain)," by Donald Harington
Biblical text can get itself into some tricky situations. The 6th
commandment is pretty clear in its meaning -- "Thou shalt not kill" -- but
Exodus 22:23-25 puts a stipulation on the clear-cut commandment: "But if
there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth
for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound,
bruise for bruise." In other words: revenge.
That's the kind of thing Randy might like to read in the Bible. Randy, who
lives in Bradley and asked that his last name not be used, would like a
little revenge. In 1981, when Randy was 25 years old, Timothy Buss, who
was on death row when former Gov. George Ryan commuted his sentence, used
a stick to sexually molest Randy's 5-year-old sister before he bludgeoned
her to death.
Police had to restrain Randy whenever he saw Buss to keep from having
another murder on their hands.
That was more than a quarter century ago, and Randy admits he has calmed
down since then. Still, if he were face-to-face with Buss, he doesn't
think twice about what he would say to the man.
"Step outside," Randy said. "Let's go for a long walk."
The death penalty
Polls indicate that Americans' view of the death penalty is largely
dependent on how the question is asked. A 2001 ABC News/Washington poll
found that 63 % of Americans support the death penalty. When the question
is expanded to include "Do you support the death penalty if life without
parole is also offered as an option?" the number became a statistical dead
heat; 46 % favor the death penalty and 45 % favor life in prison without
chance of parole.
Buss is back in prison for life. That's not enough to please Randy. This
is not to say that Randy disagrees with the sixth commandment or doesn't
think it is relevant for today's society.
He sees the contradiction. He knows killing is a sin, and he remembers a
photo that ran in The Daily Journal right after his sister's death.
"Underneath my picture, it said (my quote), 'Some people are alive today
simply because it's against the law to kill them,'" he said.
He explains his desire for an eye for an eye: "I feel ashamed that I
wasn't able to protect her. I really feel that I let her down. Me being
the oldest brother, the big brother, this shouldn't have happened to her."
Because he couldn't protect his sister, the next best thing would be to go
after Buss. It hasn't happened, and Randy has never been to his sister's
grave because he hasn't revenged his sister's death.
Randy may not go to church every day, but he does believe in God, he said.
He prays occasionally -- not the kind done around the table before dinner
time, but the kind that asks God to protect his grandchild and the kind
that includes prayers for his sister, who will be 5 in his eyes forever.
Which means she'll always have the same favorite pastime.
"The love of her life was being with her mother and her father, on the
river, in a boat, catfishing," Randy said. "The dirtier she got, the
happier she was."
A different view
Today, when Randy runs into Buss' father, he says hello. He figures the
two men run into each other four or five times a year. At one point -- and
up to a couple years ago -- Randy could not speak to him, and he would run
from Randy, he said.
"I feel for (Buss') father," Randy said. "We don't talk about his son. I
think a parent will always believe their kid didn't do it because that's
what parents do. I believe in his mind, they don't want to admit he did
it, but in his heart, he knew he did it."
"I'm still not sore about it. I can't say I'm mellow about it. According
to our law, there's nothing I can do about it. I just had to accept it and
get over it."
(source: The Daily Journal)
VOICE OF THE PEOPLE----Committed to rights
The Chicago Tribune has called itself the "world's greatest newspaper."
With "Abolish the death penalty" (Editorial, March 25), it lived up to
that motto. The Tribune adopted an editorial position that rejected
capital punishment as a public policy. Changing a position held for years
is not an easy task.
But, thankfully, cooler heads of smart people prevailed after looking at
mistakes that have been made.
Welcoming the Chicago Tribune to the family of people committed to human
rights of all people even if they are sinners is a good step forward in
(source: Chicago Tribune - Doug Dobmeyer, Former media spokesperson and
executive director, Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Chicago)
Pardoned death row prisoner Stanley Howard:----The legal lynchings that
still go on today
STANLEY HOWARD is a former death row prisoner who was pardoned by
then-Illinois Gov. George Ryan in 2003.
Stanley landed on death row because of the torturers of the Chicago Police
Department, who suffocated him with a typewriter cover while continuously
beating him until he confessed to a crime he didnt commit.
In prison, Stanley led the way in forming the Death Row 10--a group of
condemned prisoners who all endured similar police torture. Their struggle
from behind prison bars played an important part in building pressure on
Ryan to clear death row.
Still in prison for another crime he was falsely accused of, Stanley
continues to speak out against the death penalty and the criminal justice
system, writing regularly for the Campaign to End the Death Penaltys
newsletter the New Abolitionist.
AS POINTED out by Socialist Worker, the American execution system is
grinding to a halt. The number of executions is dropping. And because the
public is learning more about the death penalty, juries are rebutting
bloodthirsty prosecutors by rejecting death sentences.
We closed the door to executing juveniles and the mentally retarded, and
now, doctors and anesthesiologists, who take an oath to preserve life, are
refusing to participate in the barbaric process of killing human beings.
As in the past with the electric chair, gas chamber and hangings, lethal
injection is now under fire for being nothing more than another form of
Because of this and much more, the death penalty is on hold in many
states. Some states are even considering abolishing it altogether.
Im excited that the tide is turning on executions, but Im disappointed
that the fact of it being flat-out racist has gotten lost in the debate.
Racism in the U.S. is as American as apple pie. It touches every aspect of
Black life--education, housing, health care, employment, the criminal
justice system and its machinery of death.
It can be blatant, like when President Bush sat idly by while thousands of
Blacks suffered and screamed for help during the Hurricane Katrina
catastrophe--and Bush then publicly praised the head of FEMA for "doing a
fabulous job." Or it can be hidden, like when former Supreme Court Chief
Justice William Rehnquist purchased his Arizona home under a signed
contract that he would "never sell the property to a Black person."
But we cannot escape this obvious plague on society and humanity by
ignoring its existence.
"The criminal justice issue," said Rev. Jesse Jackson and Minister Louis
Farrakhan during a historic November 2004 meeting, "is the most major
civil rights issue of our time that must be addressed."
We know that whites commit more crimes and more murders and use more drugs
in this country, but Blacks are being targeted and persecuted on a larger
scale. The weight of the police, courts and prison system falls more
heavily on Blacks than any other group.
Blacks are 12 % of the U.S. population, but are 41 % of its prison
population. Almost 1 in 3 Black men can expect to spend time in prison at
some point in their lives--compared to about 1 in 25 white men.
Ive been incarcerated for over 22 years in the state of Illinois, and in
all the prisons Ive been in (Pontiac, Menard, Stateville, Galesburg and
Western Illinois), they were and are overwhelmingly packed with Black men
on a much larger scale than the national average.
The U.S. Supreme Court banned capital punishment in 1972 on the basis that
it was being carried out in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The court
thought the problem could be rectified when it reinstated the death
penalty in 1976. But here we are 35 years later, dealing with the same
racist and unfair system of death.
Unfortunately, todays Supreme Court refuses to consider the statistical
facts as the 1972 court did. Todays court insists that prisoners prove
they were discriminated against as an individual, and not as a part of the
whole--which is virtually impossible.
We cannot depend on the courts and government to end racist practices when
they are part of the problem. We did not wait on the courts, the
government or popular opinion to change in order to demand an end to
slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws or flying the Confederate flag. So we
do not have to wait to demand an end to the legal lynchings going on in
concentration camps across this nation.
If the criminal justice system is the "most major civil rights issue of
our time," then there is no difference between the lynchers of 14-year-old
Emmitt Till in 1955 and a racist government and society that continues to
lynch Blacks today, in a different way.
America has come a long way since the fight for civil rights, but everyone
knows that we have a long way yet to go. And knowing that we're living
under this cloud of racism, we must not allow them to take it out of the
debate. Regardless of polls and popular opinion, the racist death penalty
(source: Socialist Worker Online)
Feds to judge: Vinny Gorgeous is worthy of the death penalty
Prosecutors have notified a judge that they will seek the death penalty
against reputed mobster Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano for a gangland
hit - the latest in a rash of capital cases in federal court in Brooklyn.
Basciano, the 1-time acting boss of the Bonanno organized crime family, is
scheduled to go on trial in June on charges he ordered the murder of a
Mafia rival in 2004 and later plotted to kill a federal prosecutor.
In a 2-paragraph letter to the trial judge dated Monday, prosecutors in
Brooklyn said that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had decided they
should ask a jury to impose death if the one-time owner of the Hello
Gorgeous beauty salon in the Bronx is convicted. The letter did not
explain the decision.
Robert Nardoza, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn,
Defense attorneys said the government's decision to pursue a capital case
in a routine contract killing of a mob associate was rare and reflects a
policy to expand its pursuit of the ultimate punishment to a variety of
"It shows the Justice Department under the current regime is very
sensitive to equal opportunity for the death penalty," said Ephraim
Savitt, one of Basciano's lawyers.
Last week, a federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced to death a man convicted
of killing 2 police officers in an undercover gun buy gone bad in 2004.
The shooter, Ronell Wilson, 24, became the 1st person in more than 50
years to be sentenced to death in a federal case in New York. The last
time was in 1954 for a bank robber who killed an FBI agent.
The same Brooklyn courthouse was the venue for an unprecedented 3
simultaneous death penalty trials earlier this year - Wilson's and those
of a notorious druglord and a gang member accused of shooting a man in the
head to pay off a debt to a cocaine supplier. The 2 other capital
defendants also were convicted, but the juries voted to impose life
sentences instead of death.
Last year, Basciano, 47, was found guilty of racketeering, attempted
murder and gambling in a separate case.
(source: Associated Press)
Criminal Justice Under Eliot Spitzer
With 4 family members in prison, Andrea Johnson spends $100 every two
weeks on collect phone calls from correctional facilities. So she was
pleased that, soon after taking office, Governor Eliot Spitzer made
changes that will cut her bill in half.
Johnson hopes this is an indication that Spitzer will look to make further
reforms to the state's prison system where her husband, two brothers, and
a brother-in-law are serving time.
"What happens when they get released? How do we approach that?" asked
Johnson, whose husband comes up for parole in June. "Not through phone
The governor has inherited a system that is in flux. There are about
63,000 men and women in the state prison system, down significantly from
the peak of 71,000 in 1999. As crime has largely been brought increasingly
under control, New York's prison system has shrunk. Experts across the
political spectrum see a need to spend more time responding to the issues
surrounding the 25,000 inmates being released each year than to locking up
more and more people.
Spitzer's rhetoric echoes the tough on crime mantra that has become
dominant over the last several decades, and he made it a priority to pass
one of the country's harshest laws regarding sex offenders soon after
taking office. But there are also signs that he is willing to challenge
some of the pillars of the state's criminal justice policy, by rethinking
sentencing, focusing on services and reentry, and even reducing the size
of the overall prison system.
New York is not the only place that is changing course on policies
regarding crime and punishment. But it is providing grist for advocates
who want to move away from some of the dogma of the last several decades.
"We are the fastest shrinking prison system in the country by far and also
happen to have the largest crime decline in the United States," said
Michael Jacobson of Vera Institute of Justice, a criminal justice think
tank. "Those are nice things to have go together. You can obviously have
fewer people in prison and more public safety at the same time."
SHIFTING WINDS ON CRIME
34 years ago New York State was at the forefront of a national shift that
laid the basis for a decades-long trend toward harsh sentencing, an
official rejection of "coddling" prisoners with rehabilitative services
and a surge in the prison population. Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed
legislation creating mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes
in 1973, the 1st such laws in the country. These Rockefeller Drug Laws
were the first salvo in the War on Drugs, a campaign during which the
worst thing a public official could be was "soft on crime."
This philosophy on criminal justice was bipartisan. New York State's
prison explosion came under Democratic governor Mario Cuomo. The prison
population more than doubled under his watch, then continued to rise under
Governor George Pataki. Between 1982 and 2000, New York State opened 38
prisons, more than in the previous 150 years.
In recent years, however, growth in the national prison population has
slowed as crime rates became significantly lower than they were in the
1980s and 1990s. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of prisoners re-enter
society every year. This has been especially true in New York, whose
prison population has shrunk 12 percent since the peak in 1999 (although
the most recent numbers show a slight uptick fueled by rising crime rates
This shift in the shape of the criminal justice system has also changed
the way that public officials think about the issue. Lower crime rates
have brought down the fever pitch on being tough on crime. There has been
a bipartisan push, for example, to re-evaluate drug sentences that punish
offenses related to crack cocaine much more harshly than those involving
Reentry and education programs that were once seen as the bastion of
softheaded liberals are now being championed by officials across the
political spectrum. Senator Sam Brownback is a particularly striking
example. Brownback is preparing a 2008 presidential run as the voice of
the conservative wing of the Republican Party; in 1994 he called Newt
Gingrich's Contract With America too moderate. But last year he spent a
night in a prison and addressed inmates as he pressed for the passage of
the Second Chance Act, a bill that aims to ease prisoners' re-entry into
A NEW APPROACH TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN NEW YORK?
People in the criminal justice field in New York felt the ground shifting
from the moment Spitzer took office.
For years, the state has made millions of dollars from phone service
between prisoners and their loved ones through a deal in which it charged
a commission for each call. In 2005 alone the state made $16 million from
these charges. These calls, meanwhile, have tripled in price since 1996.
Spitzer's decision to have the state stop collecting its fee the will
reduce the price of a 20-minute call from $6.20 to about $3.
In addition to the financial effect this will have on the families of
prisoners, the symbolic import of Spitzer's move left advocates of a new
approach to criminal justice feeling optimistic that more profound changes
are on the way. While many are withholding judgment, they see indications
that the state is changing course.
There have been calls to reform or repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws since
the administration of Mario Cuomo. Most other states have tempered their
own drug sentencing laws. New York did not make any changes until 2005,
and even then the reforms were seen as relatively minor.
Spitzer has called for a panel to broadly re-examine sentencing. It has
yet to be seen whether the commission's recommendations will be, or
whether they will have any teeth. But some see an opening to reconsider
the inequities they see in the state's drug laws.
"We clearly think the Rockefeller Laws will be in there," said Jeffrion
Aubrey, the head of the State Assembly's corrections committee.
In a clear indication that Spitzer sees permanent changes for the prison
system, he has indicated that he wants to close some prisons.
"We acknowledge we've lost 8,100 inmates," said Brian Fischer, Spitzer's
commissioner of corrections. "Perhaps we don't need so many prisons."
Advocates of closing prisons see such action both as recognition of lower
prison populations and as a way to reallocate resources to other places
within the criminal justice system.
"The more you can shrink the size of the system intelligently, the more
money you have to reinvest in a variety of things, among those programs
within prisons," said Jacobson of Vera. Some advocates suggest the money
saved by reducing the size of the prison system could pay for experiments
on programs aimed at helping people stay out of the penal system, saving
progressively more money. Fischer declined to speculate on such a plan,
saying, "you can't divert money you haven't saved yet."
Not everyone thinks closing prisons is a good idea, however. Strong
opposition kept Pataki from doing so, even though he expressed interest.
Some say closing prisons is premature, given the recent increase in the
number of inmates. But much of the argument against closing prisons
revolves not around criminal justice, but around economics. The prison
system is a $2.7 billion a year industry in New York State, and the
economies of many struggling upstate communities rely on prisons.
Furthermore, the job security of some upstate lawmakers would be
threatened if prisons closed, since prisoners, wherever they came from
originally, count as residents of the districts where they are
incarcerated - even though they can't vote. Closing prisons would
therefore shift political power away from the thinly populated regions
where they operate.
In 2005, the state passed legislation that would make it harder to close
prisons, requiring officials to give a year's notice, create an
alternative use plan for the facility and find new jobs for displaced
employees. The state corrections officers union, which makes large
contributions to legislators' campaigns, says it opposes any closings.
Spitzer included a plan for a prison closing commission in his executive
budget. The State Senate rejected the idea, however, and Aubrey says the
Assembly will not push it. Aubrey says that Spitzer could create the
commission by executive order, but it is not clear how this will play out.
Regardless of what happens to the overall makeup of the system, tens of
thousands of people leave New York's state prisons each year, many with
little more than $40 and a bus ticket. Criminal justice experts agree that
easing this transition is one of the largest challenges facing
policymakers. Many believe the preparation should start the minute a
prisoner enters the system.
Stanley Richards of the Fortune Society, an organization that helps
prisoners readjust to life on the outside, said giving prisoners access to
higher education while they are incarcerated is the best strategy for
lowering recidivism. Richards spent more than one stint in prison himself;
while serving a sentence for robbery he got his GED and a college degree
in social work. "It laid the foundation for me," he said.
Numerous studies show that education increases prisoners' changes of
succeeding in the outside world. A report by the U.S. Department of
Education found that those who attended school behind bars were 29 % less
likely to end up back in prison, and that "every dollar spent on education
returned more than 2 dollars to the citizens in reduced prison costs."
Still, such programs face intense opposition, largely because of their
symbolic significance: Many people do not think that money should be spent
educating people who have committed crimes. In the mid-1990s both the
federal and state governments cut off funding for higher education for
prisoners. There has been no movement to reverse these actions in New York
so far, but Aubrey says he hopes to have education programs back in the
budget by next year.
Criminal justice issues have been overshadowed by Albany's big-ticket
items: education, Medicaid, Spitzer's governing style. The exception has
been a deal between the governor and the legislature to detain some sex
offenders indefinitely, even after they have served out their sentences -
a practice known as civil confinement.
Sex offenders have long been seen as particularly dangerous. Their crimes
are considered to be among the most abhorrent of anti-social behaviors,
and recidivism rates among them are high. Across the country, officials
have sought ways to crack down, by requiring public notice when a sex
offender moves into a neighborhood, or forcing some offenders to wear GPS
devices for years after their release. Ohio is currently considering
legislation to require the issuance of bright green license plates for
convicted sex offenders, mirroring similar legislation in other states.
The first civil confinement legislation was passed in 1990 in Washington
State, and many states have passed such laws since. In New York, the
Republican-led Senate passed civil confinement legislation every year for
more than a decade, only to have it shot down by the Democratic-led
Assembly. Governor Pataki had gotten around this deadlock by using the
state's mental hygiene laws to keep some sex offenders in mental hospitals
as involuntary patients. But a state court rejected this practice last
In March, Spitzer signed a far-reaching law that he hopes will become a
"national model." New York's law - the 20th in the country - ranks among
the harshest. Under the law, mental health experts will identify offenders
in prison who are candidates for civil confinement. These offenders will
then be given a jury trial. Those who are deemed a continued risk will be
transferred to treatment centers indefinitely, instead of being released.
Prisoners who are eligible include those who were under 18 when they
committed their crime and those who gave minors indecent material.
Civil confinement legislation is widely popular. The U.S. Supreme Court
has upheld its constitutionality, on the basis that such programs
constituted treatment, not punishment. But there is evidence that the
programs are not providing treatment to help people re-enter society, but
serving instead as ways to detain sex offenders indefinitely.
Advocates who finally feel that they are getting some traction in other
areas of criminal justice say that they see the current atmosphere
regarding sex offenders mirroring the earlier panic surrounding drug
"What's going to happen is sort of like drug laws. The net is going to get
cast way too wide and too far. People will be afraid to step back from it
for fear of political backlash," said Marsha Weissman of the Center for
Community Alternatives, a group advocating alternates to incarceration.
"It's easier to get people worked up into a frenzy than it is to take
(source: Gotham Gazette)
Capital punishment project shocks classmates
A student once gave American history teacher Jim D'Acosta a pecan pie to
demonstrate his depth of understanding of the culinary tastes of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt.
For his quarterly research project, another student dressed as baseball
legend Roberto Clemente to explore Puerto Rican heritage.
Over the years, D'Acosta's classroom at Fairfield Warde High School has
become a museum for models, paintings and scrapbooks that make standard
term papers look terribly run-of-the-mill.
Still, junior Shane Man's project for this quarter of the academic year is
one by which all others will be measured.
In his study of capital punishment, the 17-year-old built a full-size
model of an electric chair.
The thick wooden chair stands 5 feet 4 inches high, 26 inches deep and 33
inches wide. It's so big he had to bring the chair to school in pieces and
do final assembly in the classroom.
There are restraints, wires, a switch and a metal cap that would be placed
on the head of the unlucky occupant.
Though not electrified, the model looks eerily similar to the electric
chair created by Harold Brown, an employee of Thomas Edison in the late
1890s. So similar that Stratfield Elementary School, which generally
invites D'Acosta's high school students to share their projects, decided
the chair might be too intense for 4th- and 5th- graders.
"This is unique. I hope this makes advanced placement students feel a
little humble," said D'Acosta, admiring the chair before Man gave an oral
presentation on his project to classmates last week.
A National Board Certified teacher who has worked in Fairfield 18 years,
D'Acosta requires students to turn in a research project every quarter
based on the time period they are studying. It's worth 20 % of their grade
for the quarter. The 3rd marking period covers the era from 1890 to 1945.
The 1st electric chair was used in 1890 to put William Kemmler to death in
D'Acosta gives students a lot of leeway to explain their research and
understanding of the topic.
"In most assignments, I determine what learning style they'll have to use.
Usually, that requires reading and writing and memorizing. This project
affords students the opportunity to use what they're comfortable with,"
Man is a hands-on learner.
In the 1st marking period, when the class was studying the American
Revolutionary era, Man built a full-sized cannon.
"I'm good with my hands and I guess I always wanted to be at a battle.
Famous battles. & And I'm kind of sinister in a way," Man said when asked
about his interests.
Born on an American Indian reservation in Maine, Man moved with his family
to Fairfield 10 years ago.
Daphne Rich, another of Man's teachers, calls him a great kid.
"He's very bright, thoughtful and reflective. He's really engaged this
year in Jim's class," she said.
For the latest project, Man said he created a sketch of an electric chair
based on images he found online, then built his model by "eyeballing" it.
The chair took Man about a week and a half to build, with a little help
from his father, a carpenter.
Time constraints made it impossible to include some details, such as
authentic leather restraints.
He also had to explain to the class where the electrodes would be placed
were he allowed to install them.
In addition to the model, Man had to turn in a 2-page paper on the project
and make a presentation to the class.
He explained how the electric chair was developed and how it was presumed
to be a more humane method of execution than hanging, even though early
models tended to set people on fire.
He also talked about which states still use the electric chair to mete out
No one but D'Acosta would agree to sit in the chair when Man demonstrated
how the device would work.
"It's all about trust, right?" said D'Acosta as he was strapped in.
"Any last words?" one student called from the back of the class, as
another started flicking the light switch.
Man explained that if the chair functioned, the switch controlling the
juice would be in another room, not on the chair itself.
"If you were condemned, which would you choose & lethal injection or
electrocution?" one student asked him.
Man said he began the project favoring capital punishment. What he learned
changed his mind.
"I learned they tested on animals before humans. It showed me just about
how gruesome even lethal injection can be. It completely changed my view,"
Still, Man intends to make the chair a permanent fixture in his bedroom.
D'Acosta, whose own love of history did not spring from books but from
racing his brother up the steps of pyramids outside Mexico City where he
grew up, said he is happiest these days when he sees the creativity of
some of his students.
"I've had a few projects that score 100. I had one pair of students 2
years ago that used welding equipment from their auto tech class to make
replicas the Monitor and Merimac, 19th century iron-clad vessels used
during the American Civil War. But Shane raises the bar."
What will Man do to top himself in the 4th quarter?
(source: Connecticut Post Online)
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