David R. Dow: Lessons from death row inmates
David R. Dow - Death penalty lawyer
David R. Dow has defended over 100 death row inmates in 20 years. Full bio
tried to kill him with a butcher knife.
lived with his older brother
himself through the heart.
member to another,
he was essentially living on his own.
Katya and Lincoln, I looked at my son,
complicated legal proceeding known as
inmates more than 20 years ago,
to a lawyer in either the second
guys on death row
already in chapter four --
cases that are most urgent;
the lives of their clients, sometimes by
sustained decline in the number of
from the time that the Texas execution
the number of annual executions dipped
close to 40 people, and this number
the last 15 years.
continue to execute
executions has remained high
has gone down.
that graph has gone down.
more and more people to prison
possibility of parole,
dissolution of popular support
an all-time low.
mid 1980s, when it was in
death sentences and the affinity for
by an erosion of support for the death
shifted their focus
death penalty story.
late 1980s to chapter two in
in the mid- to late-1990s,
death sentences and the increase in the
or a bad thing.
reason that this has happened
going to save your client's life.
of a death row inmate --
dysfunctional family that Will did.
into smaller problems.
math and physics, even in social policy --
science is really complicated
about now is really simple.
nudged them off of the path that they were on
system -- during each of those five chapters,
intervention, the way that society could intervene
kids like Will
every other state that isn't using them,
reserved for a room full of lawyers and judges.
modes of intervention
that will come about
otherwise troubled kids,
off of the path that we're on.
both the high school level
disadvantaged kids, and particularly kids
gonna be the only controversial thing
and threaten to kill them.
kids are going to fall through the cracks
chapter before the murder story begins,
one at Yale and one at Maryland --
to school from eight in the morning
at the school and the prison authorities,
to invent a new curriculum because
on a semester basis.
is that they cost money.
old enough to remember
that we spend intervening
otherwise disadvantaged kids
I had with Will.
who he hardly knew,
12 years, he still called me Professor.
disrespect by this,
than you are,
screaming she's gonna kill you,
bathroom and lean against the door and
this morning and the time we break for lunch,
resources to punishing the people who
appropriate, because we should punish
About the speaker:David R. Dow - Death penalty lawyer
David R. Dow has defended over 100 death row inmates in 20 years.
Why you should listen
What does it feel like to know exactly the day and time you’re going to die -- because the state has decided for you? As a death penalty attorney in Texas, the state with the highest death penalty rate in the US, David R. Dow asks himself questions like this every day. In the past 20 years he has defended over 100 death row inmates, many of whom have died -- and most of whom were guilty. But according to an interview with Dow, “They should have been sentenced to life in prison instead of death at the hands of the state.” Dow is the Litigation Director at the Texas Defender Service and the Founder and Co-director of the Texas Innocence Network, an organization in which law students provide pro bono legal services to investigate claims of actual innocence brought by Texas prisoners. He writes on contract law, constitutional law and theory, and death penalty law, and has most recently published a book called The Autobiography of an Execution, partly a memoir and partly about the politics of capital punishment. Dow is a professor at the University of Houston Law Center.
David R. Dow | Speaker | TED.com