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Death Penalty Defense: Outrage

jeanne's rendition from a Death Penalty Defense seminar.

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: November 5, 2001
Latest Update: December 26, 2005

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In the following excerpt, Aisha reacts to information on the death penalty that, for her, was new. Because she reminds me of that, I realize that for many of our students concepts that we take for granted are new information. Your faculty and older students have had life experiences that inform them on a broader scope. It is important that you remind us that when this information is history, not current events, for you, that we need to share some of our stories and experiences with you. Particularly on issues as deep and frustrating as the death penalty, that is a major part of interactive and performative learning. It's also one of the main advantages of diversity in classes. jeanne

On Monday, November 5, 2001, Aisha Welch wrote:

Subject: Soc 395 Week of August 27, 2001

This Death Penalty article is a brief paper that states peoples' opinions about the death penalty. They basically are saying the death penalty is unfair. I believe that the death penalty should be decided in a fair and rational manner. It should not be given to people whose situation is not related to crime itself; poverty, race, and geography. These are factors that are not necessarily shared by everyone and that have serious consequences for someone to lose their life behind.

This article is very interesting because it states things that I wasn't familiar with, like Racial Bias, mainly to Blacks, not Whites. Now this is unfair. I feel if the Death Penalty is not going to be an equal rights law it should be abolished because everyone should be treated equally and fairly.

On Monday, November 5, 2001, jeanne responded:

Aisha, this is very helpful as a measure of learning because you have essentially given me baseline data when you say that "I wasn't familiar with, like racial bias . . . " Because our classes are large, and our backgrounds are all so very dissimilar, it is hard to gauge learning without having some idea of where you're starting from.

If you were a major in African American Studies and were not familiar with the concept of racial bias in the death penalty, I would be horrified. But clearly that is not something you have come across in your studies. It helps when you give me such information. It also helps me to understand the wide range of experiences among our students.

You make a good suggestion when you recognize the importance of background experiences to the impartiality of a jury. Talia Baran and Gordon Fellman have been discussing this on Jury Selection. Take a look at their discussion.

love and peace, jeanne

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