While we’re on the subject…


“It’s quite horrifying — as it’s intended to be,” is how the spiritual advisor who was in the death chamber with Michael Tisius when the State of Missouri killed him last month describes the experience of witnessing the state kill one of its citizens. In an interview with Flatland, the Rev. Melissa Potts Bowers describes the process as both “bizarre” and a “one-man show” [whose] “murder is the highlight of the day.”

“Clemency is an act of mercy. It’s not a ‘get out of jail free’ card, Political Editor Clancy DuBos writes in Gambit about Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ efforts to commute the death sentences of 56 of the state’s 57 individuals on death row. DuBos notes that a day after Edwards ordered the Pardons and Parole Board to hold hearings on each of the applications for commutation, the board scheduled 20 hearings. Edwards made it clear that “Absent a finding by the court of actual innocence, none of these individuals will be released from prison, ever, if these applications are granted,” opponents to commutation, including the state District Attorneys Association, vowed to fight the appeals. 

In his op-ed, “Merrick Garland Is Virtue Signaling With the Tree of Life Shooter’s Death Sentence,” in Slate, Austin Sarat says that while the Department of Justice sought and won a death sentence for Robert Bowers, the man convicted of killing 11 people and wounding several others at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, the Biden administration “doesn’t actually want to see Bowers executed.” Instead, he says, “it sought a death sentence as a kind of virtue signaling. Securing the Bowers verdict was a symbolic and political gesture, a sign of the administrations intolerance for antisemitic and other hate crimes, as well as its toughness on acts of domestic terrorism.”

In his DP3 Substack (Death Penalty Policy Project) post, “Executions Scheduled for 2023,” Robert Dunham analyzes recent execution and death warrants, finding that “the death penalty has increasingly become the product of a small number of outlier jurisdictions concentrated in the deep South and the contiguous states of Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.”

“The exhibition doesn’t shy away from the injustice that Tyler experienced for so long,” Smithsonian Magazine writes of an exhibit in Detroit featuring the quilts made by Gary Tyler. In Louisiana in 1974, Gary Tyler was sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit when he was 16. Convicted and sentenced to die by an all-white jury, he was, at the time, the youngest person on death row in the United States and spent eight years in solitary confinement. Almost 42 years after his arrest, Tyler agreed to plead guilty and was released for time served. When he left, he took with him the sewing skills Tyler had learned when he volunteered in the prison’s hospice program, which raised money by auctioning its handmade quilts. The exhibit, “We Are the Willing,” is at Library Street Collective. 

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