20 Years Defending Death Row Inmates in Texas
Over the past 20 years, Texas lawyer David Dow has represented some 100 death row inmates against the state that carries out the highest volume of executions. On NPR’s Fresh Air earlier this week, Terry Gross interviewed Dow about his work and his new memoir, The Autobiography of an Execution (Twelve, 2010). Here’s just one interesting excerpt from an effective interview:
Terry Gross: Now, you’ve spent your 20 years working on death row in Texas, which is famous, for among other things, for having a lot of executions. So what’s unique about working with death row clients in Texas?
Prof. Dow: I have a few cases that I work on in other states and one of the facts that always strikes me when I go to those other states is how different death penalty lawyers are in other states. Even other states that have substantial death row populations, like Florida. Death penalty lawyers in other states are not constantly representing clients who are on the verge of execution. In other states it’s a busy year in the execution chamber if you have five or six executions. In Texas, we might have five or six executions in a month or two.
[Quick housekeeping note for this blog: I’ll probably not be blogging much about death penalty issues in general, on the theory that there’s only so much one blog can or should try to cover, but I thought this interview was worth mentioning.]