Saturday, 31 March 2007

Henderson's lawyer wants execution delayed

March 31, 2007

Henderson's lawyer wants execution delayed

Judge to rule by Monday on request for woman convicted of killing
Pflugerville 3-month-old.

By Steven Kreytak, Austin American-Statesman

Cathy Lynn Henderson's lawyers were in court Friday asking a judge in Travis
County to delay her April execution to give them more time to file a final

Henderson, 50, is scheduled to be executed April 18 for killing 3-month-old
Brandon Baugh in 1994 at her Pflugerville-

area home.

Doctors testified at her 1995 trial that Brandon's severe skull injuries
could not have been caused by an accidental fall, as Henderson claimed.

Henderson's lawyer, George A. Cumming of San Francisco, told visiting state
District Judge Jon Wisser on Friday that recently developed science on head
trauma, melding the work of doctors with that of physicists and engineers,
will show that Brandon's death could have been an accident.

"This is new science," Cumming said. "It is very much like the DNA
equivalent in a head trauma case."

Cumming asked Wisser, who was the trial judge in the case, to vacate his
execution order or to delay it by 90 days to allow him to fully develop an
application for writ of habeas corpus requesting a new trial.

Wisser said he would rule Monday morning.

Prosecutors urged him to let the execution go ahead.

Travis County Assistant District Attorney Dayna Blazey criticized the work
of Dr. John Plunkett, a Minnesota forensic pathologist who Cumming said is
consulting on Henderson's case.

"He is quite well-known for his outlandish statements regarding . . . head
injuries in children," she said. "This is not any kind of newly discovered
evidence. . . . This is a newly discovered expert that they've discovered at
the 11th hour."

Henderson is one of 10 women on Texas' death row.

She was convicted after prosecutors argued that she deliberately slammed
Brandon's head against a flat surface with enough force to shatter the base
of his skull. Testimony at her trial showed that she stuffed the baby's body
into a wine cooler carton and buried him in a rural Bell County field before
fleeing to Missouri, her native state.

Henderson wasn't present at Friday's hearing, but several family members and
supporters were. On the other side of the room were Brandon's parents, Eryn
and Melissa Baugh. They left the courthouse before they could be asked for

Outside court, Henderson's 17-year-old daughter pleaded for her mother's

"I just hope that they open their eyes," said Jennifer Henderson of Round
Rock. "This is a person's life. You don't just decide whether to take
someone's life.

"Someone has got to realize that there's a possibility of it being an

Also at the hearing was Kathy List, whose husband, Fred, 80, died this month
when he was swept away by floodwaters in Georgetown. Henderson was Fred
List's former secretary, and he spent much of the time before his death
working to prove her innocence. The couple had visited Henderson in prison
many times.

"I know murder wasn't in this girl's heart," Kathy List said. "She's


Source : Austin American-Statesman

Court TV Sheds Light on the Darlie Routier Case in

Court TV Sheds Light on the Darlie Routier Case in
THE WRONG MAN? Friday, April 6, at 10 p.m. ET

Former NYPD Detective Jerry Palace Returns as Lead Investigator of Networks Ongoing Original Series

**Jerry Palace and Reggie Britt are available for interviews upon request**

New York, NY, March 27, 2007 - Court TV raises questions about the Darlie Routier case in THE WRONG MAN? premiering Friday, April 6, at 10 p.m. ET. Court TV commissioned retired New York Police Detective Jerry Palace and his partner Reggie Britt to retrace this heartbreaking crime by pursuing leads, examining evidence and speaking with a number of the key players. The one-hour show is part of the networks continuing series of THE WRONG MAN? investigations. New episodes will air Fridays at 10 p.m. ET throughout April.

In 1996, Darlie Routier and her two young sons were stabbed in their home located in an upscale suburb of Dallas, TX. Darlie says that she fought off an intruder, who escaped from the house after brutally attacking her and killing her two children. Darlie was convicted of murdering her sons and sits on death row for a crime she says she did not commit.
Step-by-step, Palace and Britt take viewers through the investigation speaking with several crucial players including, a rare interview with Darlies husband, Darin Routier. In addition to speaking with family members and attorneys, they also visit the prison for an interview with Darlie to pose the question if the wrong person is serving a jail term for the crime.

THE WRONG MAN? explores cases in which doubt has been cast on the investigations, the suspects and the facts surrounding the criminal cases. Other cases the series will delve into this April include: Michael Roper, Hector Rivas and Tony Ford.

Understanding How Good People Turn Evil:

Friday, March 30th, 2007
Understanding How Good People Turn Evil: Renowned Psychologist Philip Zimbardo On his Landmark Stanford Prison Experiment, Abu Ghraib and More

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In 1971, psychology professor Philip Zimbardo created the Stanford Prison Experiment in which 24 college students were randomly assigned the roles of prison guards and prisoners at a makeshift jail on campus. The experiment was scheduled to run for two weeks. By Day Two, the guards were going far beyond just keeping the prisoners behind bars. In scenes eerily similar to Abu Ghraib, prisoners were stripped naked, bags put on their heads and sexually humiliated. The two-week experiment had to be canceled after just six days. Zimbardo tells the full story of the landmark study in his new book, "The Lucifer Effect." [rush transcript included]
As the United States enters the fifth year of its occupation of Iraq, some of the most enduring images of the war remain the vivid photographs of US soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

The pictures were leaked to the press and first revealed to the world in May 2004. Images showed Iraqis with bags over their heads, beaten, set upon by dogs and forced into sexually humiliating acts. The Bush administration tried to paint the scandal as an isolated incident committed by rogue soldiers. But who is really to blame for the abuses at Abu Ghraib? The answer may lie in a landmark study conducted more than three decades ago.

In 1971, psychology professor Philip Zimbardo created an experiment at Stanford University in which 24 male college students were randomly assigned the roles of prison guards and prisoners at a makeshift jail on campus. The experiment was scheduled to run for two weeks. By Day Two, the guards were going far beyond keeping the prisoners behind bars. In scenes eerily similar to Abu Ghraib, prisoners were stripped naked, bags put on their heads and sexually humiliated. The guards had become dangerously sadistic and the prisoners were breaking down emotionally. The two-week experiment had to be canceled after just six days.

Professor Philip Zimbardo has just written a new book that, for the first time, tells the full story of the famed Stanford Prison Experiment. It's called "The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil." Professor Zimbardo joins me today from our firehouse studio in New York.

  • Philip Zimbardo, creator of the landmark Stanford Prison Experiment. He is professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University. Zimbardo is the author of the best-selling introductory psychology textbook, "Psychology and Life" as well as "Shyness." He recently served as the president of the American Psychological Association and is now director of the new Center for Interdisciplinary Policy Education and Research on Terrorism.


This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
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AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo joins us today from the firehouse studio in New York. He is Professor Emeritus of psychology at Stanford University where he’s taught for the last half century. He delivered his final lecture there earlier this month. Professor Zimbardo also recently served as President of the American Psychological Association and is now Director of the new center for Interdisciplinary Policy Education and Research on Terrorism. We welcome you to Democracy Now! Professor Zimbardo.

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Welcome Amy. I’m so happy to be here, thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, why don't you begin by just explaining, setting the stage for us, how did this experiment begin?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: The experiment is really a study in how ordinary people, even good people, can be seduced or corrupted by powerful, social situations. What we did was, we began by selecting two dozen people, as you indicated, from among 75 people who had applied – had answered an ad I’d placed in the city newspaper. And the ad simply said “Wanted college students, for study of prison life. Expected to run for two weeks.”

We gave them a battery of psychological tests, interviews, because we wanted to start our prison filled only with good apples, if you will. That is, normal healthy young men, college students. Little more intelligent than the average public. But ordinary, healthy young men. And then what we did, what is critical to all research, we randomly assigned these young men to two roles. Either prisoner or guard, literally by a flip of the coin.

And so at the beginning of the study we had only normal, healthy kids playing the role of prisoners and guards. And, we had all the props. They had, the guards wore uniforms with symbols of power, billy clubs, silver reflecting sunglasses, an idea I got from the movie Cool Hand Luke. And that was to make them anonymous. And then the prisoners just had smocks on with numbers. And for the prisoners we took away --

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo, I wanted to step back for a minute. How the prisoners, the students who played the prisoners, how they even got to the psychology building, which was the setting for all of this?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: What was critical in the study is, we wanted the boys who were going to be prisoners to have their freedom taken away, rather than have them come and say I’m here to be in the study. So I recruited the Palo Alto Police Department to make very realistic, serious arrests, of each student either in a dormitory or at home, and the police went there, knocked on the door, and said are is Billy Smith here? He’s wanted for a violation of penal code 459, armed robbery or breaking and entering. Handcuffed the kids, put him in a squad car, the sirens were wailing, neighbors are looking. Obviously they didn't know it was an experiment.

They bring them down to the police department of the -- in the City Hall, and they go through a formal booking. Meaning a fingerprinting, take their picture. And essentially, although the kids knew they had not been involved in armed robbery, never the less they felt guilty, guilty about being in a squad car, people looking in the window, guilty about being in a police station. And the policemen were as deadly serious as they could be. In part, because we had a local TV cameraman there filming it.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo, we're going to break, but when we come back, we'll go to the make-shift prison. I'll have you describe it to us. Then we'll talk about how the prisoners became increasingly afraid, passive, and how the prison guards became increasingly sadistic. We're talking to professor Philip Zimbardo.


AMY GOODMAN: As we continue this discussion about this landmark experiment. It has been written about by the man who conducted it, Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. Professor Zimbardo, is in the firehouse studio in New York. Professor Zimbardo, lay out the psychology building, and how you set up this prison to feel so much, for both the guards and the prisoners, the students who were playing them, as a jail?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Well, there are two things about a prison. One is the physical aspects of it. So we took a basement, which were offices that students usually used. We took off the doors, put new doors on with bars. Took a closet and converted it to solitary confinement, meaning a small, tight, dark space, which had a label on “The Hole”. We had quarters where the guards came and changed. I was the superintendent of the prison. We had a warden, David Jaffe, a student in his office. We had a place where visitors could come. We had a place where we would have parole board hearings.

So we created a very – simulated physical environment. And at one end of the hall we had a little window that we could look through watching what was happening with a TV camera. It was covered with theatrical scrims, so they never knew when they were being observed and when they were being filmed. The psychology -- psychological aspect of a prison is more subtle.

Before I began the experiment, I taught a summer course at Stanford called, The Psychology of Imprisonment with Carlo Prescott, he was both the consultant to my study and a young man who had just been released from prison after 17 years. So, he was our consultant, but also he was the head of the parole board. Ironically his parole had been denied for 17 previous years.

And what we wanted to do was create essential psychology of imprisonment, and that’s all about power. Every prison is about power. Guards have to assume more and more power and domination, and prisoners have to have their power stripped away. And so that is the ultimate evil of prison. It's all about power, dominance, and mastery. And that was the same thing we found in Abu Ghraib prison.

But also -- so the way that power evolves is, the prisoners have to be ultimately dehumanized. You have to think of them as not your kind, not your kin, as -- ultimately you end up thinking of them as animals. And the guards have to be impersonal, distant. Whatever humanity they have when they are home, when they are with their families, that has to be suspended, put on a hook. Because, what they have to do is treat other people in ways that they don't treat anyone else, those are the people being prisoners.

And so, we're talking about playing a role, anonymity, dehumanization, and then of course there's things like being a team member, the guards have to develop a sense of camaraderie. Most of the evil of the world comes about not out of evil motives, but somebody saying get with the program, be a team player, this is what we saw at Enron, this is what we saw in the Nixon administration with their scandal. And I think you are seeing it now, with the current administration.

So, it's that set of social psychological variables. Oh, the key one is of course diffusion of responsibility. When a person feels, I am not personally responsible, I am not accountable, it's the role I’m playing or these are the orders I’ve gotten, then you allow yourself to do things you would never do under ordinary circumstances.

So, it’s that mix of the physical environment, psychological environment, which came to be overwhelming. By overwhelming, I mean that, each day the guards would escalate their level of abuse, so that initially it was doing push ups, waking prisoners up in the middle of the night, long counts. Then it got to be personal humiliation. Cursing the guards, and having them curse each other, then finally it devolved into sexually degrading games.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo, I want to turn to a clip from your documentary Quiet Rage, that documents the six days of the Stanford Prison Experiment. In this clip, a prisoner, 8612, decides the only way to get out of prison is to show everyone that he's gone insane. He begins to play the role of the crazy person, but soon the role becomes too real, and he goes into an uncontrollable rage.

    PRISONER 8612: -- I feel – I don’t know, I gotta go. Doctor, anything. I can’t stay, I don’t know how to explain it – [yelling] I want out! I want out now! God dammit, I’m fucked up. You don't know, you don’t know. I mean God, I mean Jesus Christ, I’m burning up inside, don't you know? [crying] I can't take it.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo, explain what happened here and also where were you and how you dealt with this.

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: This young man is prisoner 8612, in real life, Doug Korpi. He was the first person to be arrested, and he was also the ring leader of a rebellion. He led the prisoners on a rebellion the second morning. He had been a student activist, an anti-war activist. And really, a powerful prisoner, with regard to opposing the authority. Remember, this is 1971. All of these kids are anti-war activists, civil rights activists, everybody’s got hair down to here, you could call them hippies. So these are kids who are against authority, whether they are prisoners or guards.

But the prisoners really rebelled against the limits on their freedom. And the guards just singled him out and harassed him, and hassled him. He had never been in a situation in which, when he did something that the authorities didn't like, they punished his cellmates. So that his cellmates started putting pressure on him, come on, straighten up, fly right, and he just gave in. That is, he gave in psychologically because his will to resist was being systematically crushed. He broke in 36 hours. The scene that you saw was at the end of only 36 hours into this study, and, but those 36 hours are every minute that is – prisoners, when they go to sleep, the guards woke them up every two hours to do counts, to do menial exercises. And he set the image of how you escape from prison. Because each day after that, another prisoner had a similar reaction. So at the end of five days we had five kids – kids we chose because they were normal and healthy, having emotional breakdowns.

AMY GOODMAN: Let's turn to another clip of the documentary Quiet Rage, which you narrated. Here all the prisoners, but one, Prisoner 819 are lined up for the 11:30 count. They together chant out against prisoner 819, who’d been resisting the guards and is I think in solitary confinement. He’s in another room.

    PRISONERS: Prisoner 819 did a bad thing. Prisoner 819 did a bad thing. Prisoner 819 did a bad thing. Prisoner 819 did a bad thing.
    PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: As soon as I realized that 819 could hear this, I rushed the room where I had left him. And what I found was a boy crying hysterically, while in the back ground his fellow prisoners were chanting and yelling that he is a bad prisoner, and that they were being punished because of him.
    PRISONERS: Because of what Prisoner 819 did, my cell is a mess. Because of what Prisoner 819 did, my cell is a mess.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo, can you talk about what happened next?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Well, I’m trying to comfort this young man. And he says, I have to go back. I have to prove to them I’m not a bad prisoner. And at this point I say, no, you're not a bad prisoner. You're Stu, and I’m not the Super Intendent, I’m Phil Zimbardo, and the study is over. And he kept saying no, I have to go back, I’m not a bad prisoner. So, the reality of that prison was so deep, that even when I’m giving him the opportunity to leave, his reputation, his image as a bad prisoner has to be undone, has to be reconciled.

And so, it's so hard if you are outside of that situation to think how can that happen? These are kids playing cops and robbers. They volunteered for it. It’s an experiment. It's not a real prison. It's not real prison bars. But once you are in that setting, and you are living there day and night, the prisoners lived there around the clock. Obviously guards work eight-hour shifts. It becomes a total situation in which your identity as a good guard, or a bad guard, your identity as a tough guard, or a soft guard, becomes really important to you. That's who you are. You are the guard. You put on the uniform, you put on the glasses. You have a billy club, and that's who you are. Or you are --

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us about prisoner 416, the one who began a revolt by refusing to eat?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Well, when we released the first prisoner, 8612, we brought in a substitute. But, he came in half way through. And what's interesting is, day by day, as the situation degraded, we all adjusted to it. That is, each day’s level violence, of abuse was the platform for the next day. But, he comes in now, and he’s seeing these crazy things going on, and he says right up front, I’m not having any of this, and they told him, “you can’t leave”, they won't let you leave, which we never said.

In fact, 8612 is the one who told him they won’t let you out. And so he says I’m going to go on a hunger strike, I’m not going to eat anything, I’ll get sick and they’ll have to let me go. And he’s a skinny kid to begin with. And the guards go crazy, because he is now the symbol of resistance. All the other kids are broken. If they are not having emotional breakdowns, they’re like zombies, they’re doing whatever the guards says.

And for the next two days every guard on every shift, their mission is get this prisoner to eat those damned sausages. They put him in solitaire confinement, they make him hold the sausages, and to his credit, he resists. So, he should have been the hero. He should have been the hero for the other prisoners, but instead he becomes a trouble maker. The guards set the other prisoners against him. They say if he doesn't eat his sausages, you guys don't get your visiting hours. If he doesn’t eat his sausages, you guys don’t get your blankets. If he doesn't eat his sausages, we're going to put your blankets in nettles and spurs, and you’re going to spend hours digging them out. So they start jumping all over him. Eat the damn sausages, you’re ruining out life.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to another clip of the documentary. Here the guards force this prisoner, 416, having to stand up and sing Amazing grace as the rest of the prisoners do push ups.

    GUARD: While they do push-ups, you sing Amazing Grace. Ready? Down.
    PRISONER 416: Amazing grace --
    GUARD: Keep going.
    PRISONER 416: -- how sweet the sound, to save a wretch like me --
    GUARD: Keep going. Once I was blind, but now I see.
    PRISONER 416: Once I was blind, but now I see, -- I saw God I’m free.
    GUARD: Not bad. Everybody on your back on the floor. Hey, stay down there! Stay down there.

AMY GOODMAN: In another incident a guard uses, tries to use public humiliation and homophobia against Prisoner 416. He tells him to play Frankenstein and to tell another prisoner, 2093, playing the bride of Frankenstein, that he loves him.

    GUARD: 416 since you got your hands in the air, why don’t you play Frankenstein. 293, you can be the bride of Frankenstein and you stand here. You go over there. You should act it out. You be the bride of Frankenstein, and you be Frankenstein. I want you to walk over here like Frankenstein and say that you love 2093. That’s not how Frankenstein walks. You have to walk like Frankenstein, we didn’t ask you to walk like you.
    PRISONER 416: I love you, 2093.
    GUARD: Get up for us! Get up for us!
    PRISONER 416: I love you, 2093.
    GUARD: You smiled 2093, get down and do 10 push ups! 1-2-3-4-5 --

AMY GOODMAN: At another point prisoner 416 is put in the hole for continuing his hunger strike. In an attempt to get him to submit, one of the guards sets the prisoners against him. He gives the prisoners a choice.

    GUARD: Now, there’s a couple ways that we can do this, depending on what you want to do. Now if 416 does not want to eat his sausages. Then, you can give me the blankets, and sleep on the bare mattress. Or you can keep your blankets and 416 will stay in another day. Now, what will it be? What will it be over here? How about 5486? Now you boys have got to come to some sort of decision here. We got three in favor of keeping the blankets. We got three against one. Keep your blankets, 416, you're going to be in there for a while. So just get used to it.

AMY GOODMAN: Excerpts from the documentary Quiet Rage. This is a filming actually of the experiment that was done in 1971. Philip Zimbardo, in a moment we're going to play the young men, the college students a few months later when you interviewed them about what happened. But talk now about what happened here with the prison guard.

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: I must say, 35 years later it's really upsetting when I see this. In fact, to prepare myself to write The Lucifer Effect, I went back and looked at – we have12 hours of video. It was so depressing, because as I’m watching the videos, I’m saying stop the experiment, stop the experiment. Why are you letting it go on? But what happened here is just a demonstration of power run amuck.

That here was this prisoner, who cares if he eats the lousy sausage, except what he represents symbolically. That he is resistance. He is the last bastion of resistance to the guards power. And they are doing everything they can to crush him. He is maintaining this heroic stance, that is, I will not give in. And finally what the guards do is they just use the might of the prisoners, getting other prisoners, against him, to break his will.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go now to the prisoners and the guards reflecting. Well this is when they're back as college students. The documentary Quiet Rage includes these post experiment interviews with the prisoners and the guards so we go back to this prisoner, 416, recalling the experience two months later.

    PRISONER 416: I began to feel that I was losing my identity. The person that I called Clay, the person who put me in this place, a person who volunteered to go into this prison. Cause it was a prison to me, it still is a prison to me. I don't look on it as an experiment or a simulation, but just a prison run by psychologists rather than the state. I began to feel that, that identity, the person that I was, that had decided to go to prison was distant from me, was remote. Until finally, I wasn't that, I was 416. I was really my number. And 416 is going to have to decide what to do.

AMY GOODMAN: And here is one of the students, actually one who played the guards, recalling his role in the Stanford Prison Experiment two months later.

    GUARD: I had really thought that I was incapable of this kind of behavior. I was surprised, no I was dismayed to find out I could really be a -- that I could act in a manner so absolutely unaccustomed to anything I would ever really dream of doing. And while I was doing it, I didn't feel any regret. I didn't feel any guilt. It was only after, afterwards when I began to reflect on what I had done. That this began to, this behavior began to dawn on me and I realized that this was a part of me I hadn't really noticed before.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo, can you respond to what he's saying today?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: In a broader sense what the study really gets at, and what I try to capture in the The Lucifer Effect is that, it’s really a celebration of the human mind infinite capacity to be kind, or cruel, caring or selfish, creative or destructive. To make some of us be villains and some of us heroes. And it all depends on the situation. When we have total freedom, we choose situations that we know we can control. But when we're in situations where other people are in charge, in the military, in prisons, in some schools, in some families, we are – we can be transformed.

And so the question is what makes some people become perpetrators of evil? What makes some people passive in the face of evil? And what I end the book with, that I discovered as I was writing it, is what is the path to heroism. So, the same situation that can enflame a hostile imagination in some, for other people it inspires a heroic imagination. Now, I’m trying to move away from being imbedded in evil, which I’ve been studying for thirty or forty years, starting growing up in the south Bronx ghetto, where I was surrounded by evil, to focusing on how can we promote the heroic imagination and heroes in our society?

AMY GOODMAN: We're going to go to break. When we come back, we'll go to one of the most riveting parts of the documentary, when one of these prisoners and one of the guards confront each other. I also want to ask you about what you think about the American Psychological Association’s debate on the issue of torture, and participating in it. You were the President of the APA, and about testifying on behalf of the one of the guards at Abu Ghraib in his trial. We're talking to professor Philip Zimbardo. His book is called The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, about a prison experiment he conducted 35 years ago at Stanford University, where he paid students $15 a day, a group of students, to be a part of this experiment, where he divided them into guards and prisoners. That's what we've been talking about for this show. In one of the most riveting parts of the documentary Professor Zimbardo you made called, Quiet Rage, prisoner 416 and one of the guards confront each other two months after the experiment is over this is the guard.

    GUARD: You put a uniform on, and I’m given a role, a job. And your job is to keep these people in line, then you're certainly not the same person, then you are in streets clothes and a different role. You really become that person once you put on that cacky uniform, the glasses. You take the night stick, and you know, you act the part. That's your costume., and you have to act accordingly when you put it on.
    PRISONER 416: It harms me, and I mean that in the present tense, it harms me.
    GUARD: How did it harm you? How does it harm you? Just the fact that people can be like that?
    PRISONER 416: Yeah. It let me in on some knowledge that I’ve never experienced first hand. I've read about it, I’ve read a lot about it. But I’ve never experienced it first hand. I've never seen someone turn that way. And, I know you're a nice guy, you know?
    GUARD: You don't know that.
    PRISONER 416: I do. I do know you're a nice guy. I don’t think that because I know what you can turn into. I know what you're willing to do. If you say oh, well I’m not going to hurt anybody. Oh well it’s a limited situation, it's over in two weeks.
    GUARD: Well, you in my position, what would you have done?
    PRISONER 416: I don't know. I can't tell you that I’d know what I’d do. I don't think, I don't believe I would have been as inventive as you. I don't believe I would have applied as much imagination to what I was doing. Do you understand?
    GUARD: Yes, I understand.
    PRISONER 416: I think I would have been a guard, I don't think it would have been such a masterpiece.
    GUARD: I didn't see where it was really harmful. It was degrading, and that was part of my particular little experiment to see how I could --
    PRISONER 416: Your particular little experiment? Why don't you tell me about that?
    GUARD: I was running little experiments of my own.
    PRISONER 416: Tell me about your little experiments, I’m curious.
    GUARD: Okay, I wanted to see, just what kind of verbal abuse people can take before they start objecting, before they start lashing back. Under the circumstances, it surprised me that nobody said anything. No one said, Carmen you can't say those things to me. Those things are sick. Nobody said that, they just accepted what I said. When I said go tell that man to his face he’s the scum of the earth, and they’d do it without question. They’d do pushups without question. They’d sit in the hole. They would abuse each other.

    And here they're supposed to have a little, they’re suppose to be together as a unit in jail, but here they are abusing each other because I requested them too. And no one questioned my authority at all. It really shocked me. Why didn't people -- when I started to get -- abuse people, I started to get so profane and still people didn't say anything.

AMY GOODMAN: Two of the students, one of the students played a guard, one of them played a prisoner. Professor Zimbardo, as we come to the end of this discussion of the experiment, and then I want to go to broader issues, talk about what happened after the six days. Also your response to what these two young men were saying two months after the experiment?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Well, I should say for your listeners that we ended the two week study only after six days because it was getting out of control, in the ways you saw and in other ways, even more extreme. But then what we did was, we had a whole day of what’s known as debriefing. I met with all the guards, with my staff, Craig Haney, Curt Banks, Carlo Prescott, David Jaffe, and we met with all the prisoners to get them to talk about their experiences. To talk to them about, try to diffuse some of the tension they felt and -- then we met with all the guards separately, and then we brought them altogether.

And what I able to say was, all of you did some bad things, and all of you saw each other doing some bad things. But it's not diagnostic of any pathology in you because we picked people who are the most normal and healthy on all psychological measures. It's really diagnostic of the power of the situation. So that even though kids had these emotional breakdowns if you will, there was no lasting effects.

We followed these kids up two weeks after, had them all come back two weeks later, a month later, I am still in contact, 35 years later, with many of the former prisoners and guards. And of course, once you take them out of that situation, and once you take them out of their costumes, just like soldiers, you take them out of their uniform and put them back in their street clothes, they bounce back to the healthy, base rate that they had earlier. So there were not, surprisingly, any lasting negative effects, which of course makes me feel good.

AMY GOODMAN: What made you stop the experiment? What ultimately made you do that six days instead of the full two weeks?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: On the night of the fifth day, I had a-- I was going to bring in a number of psychologists, graduate students, and young faculty who had no relationship to the study to interview all of us, so we could get a fix on how we were doing. One of the people who came down was a young woman, Christina Maslach, who had been a student of mine, she is now a professor at Berkeley. And she and I had just started dating, we developed a romantic relationship. And, what she saw when she got down there was prisoners lined up, bags over their heads, legs chained, hands on each other shoulders, going through counts, guards yelling at them, cursing them.

And I looked up, and I said “hey Chris, look at that. And she starts tearing up and runs out. And I run after her and I say hey, what's wrong? This is the crucible of human nature, and I'm going through all this psychological stuff, and she said, one minute what you're doing to those boys is terrible. They're not prisoners, not subjects, they are boys, and you are responsible. And I'm still yelling that the whole psychology thing. And she goes I’m not sure I want to have a relationship with you. I thought you were a loving, caring person. What I see here is – I don’t know if she used the word monster, but it was equivalent.

And that was like a slap in the face. I said, oh my god she’s right. What has happened to me that I’ve been seduced into being this evil, well not evil, just indifferent authority. I had become a prison Superintendent. So, at that moment, I said the study was over, but this was now the middle of the night and so, we said we'll end it the next morning, because we had to call all the prisoners who had been released to come back, all the guards on all the guard shifts.

And the interesting thing, and the last thing is, what made the study so powerful is, half way through we had a former prison chaplain come down. He interviews all the kids, and he says, what are you doing if you get out? And they look at him and he says you have to get a lawyer. Well, he made it even more like a realistic – and one of the kids gave him the name of his mother who has a nephew who’s a lawyer, and the priest actually calls the lawyer, and the public defender comes down this last day. And so I waited to end the study until after the Public Defender went through his routine, and he got sucked into the reality of this -- reality illusion of this study. By going through his usual Public Defender role, but then we ended the study to the joy of, not only the prisoners, but to me and the my staff, Craig Haney, Curt Banks, Carlo Prescott.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to take this story to today. Professor Zimbardo, you testified in the court martial of the highest ranking officer implicated in the Abu Ghraib scandal, Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick. Can you talk about what you said, why you testified -- did you testify on his behalf?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Yes I did. I was part of the defense team. I must say, when I saw those pictures on 20/20 -- on 60 minutes, I, excuse me, the pictures of the abuse. I was shocked the way most people are. Of course I saw the parallels immediately with the Stanford Prison Experiment, visual images. And immediately what happened was, what always happens when there is a scandal in police departments, or in the military, they blame the individual, it’s a few bad apples. The fact that the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or I guess General Myers said we know it's not systemic. Well, so I said maybe it's not bad apples, maybe these are really good American soldiers and they were put in a bad barrel, but how would I know?

When I was invited to be on Chip Frederick’s Defense council -- team, it meant I had access to him, I could find out everything there was to know about this young man, everything there was to know about the place and the psychological dynamics of the prison. I had access to all the investigative reports. And so in The Lucifer Effect, I have two whole chapters on what Abu Ghraib really was like and what the situation was like. What was the system? What was the military and Bush administration system that created those horrendous conditions? And so, I testified, essentially talking about how the situation he was in and the other seven soldiers were in, in the basement of that dungeon, how that corrupted him and made him lose his moral compass.

AMY GOODMAN: So, in the end, Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick received a maximum eight year sentence.

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Even worse. He was dishonorable discharged, he got eight years in prison, they send him to Kuwait in solitaire confinement. They took away 22 years of his retirement pay. This is an all American, super patriotic soldier; he had nine medals and awards, which he really prized. And they stripped him publicly to humiliate him. He's now in a prison in Leavenworth.

I still have personal contact with him and his family. The sad thing is, the day before he went down to that prison, from everything I know, he was normal, healthy, exactly like one of the good guards in our study. Within a few days, maybe a few weeks actually, he and the other military army reservists. Now, these are not real soldiers, these are military police, these are army reservists, who have no mission specific training, they are not trained to do this job.

He was a guard in a small prison in the states. He now is in charge of a thousand prisoners. Sixty Iraqi police men who are smuggling in weapons, the place is under constant bombardment. Soldiers are dying, prisoners are dying. He's working a 12-hour shift, seven days a week, 40 days without a day off. Incredible. How could anybody, how could any system allow American soldiers to be under that kind of stress? He and the other soldiers just gave in to the horrors of that situation.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo, who should be held responsible for what happened at Abu Ghraib?

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Well, my analysis is, individuals are always ultimately personally responsible. He and most of the other military police said, I’m guilty -- well, they had to say it, because they're in the pictures, what I call the trophy photos. He is willing to accept punishment. The situational analysis says, we should limit the extent of the punishment, because these are extreme mitigating circumstances. And what I do in The Lucifer Effect, and I have a wonderful website, we just put up called www., we put the system on trial. To say, if you're going to put these soldiers, these good American soldiers on trial for what they did, my argument has been, the people who create this corrupting situation, they have to be put on trial, too. So, I have a virtual voting booth in which I put George Tenant on trial, the former Head of the CIA, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and President Bush. Because, in various ways, they created that situation which corrupted these good American young men and women.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo we have held several debates on the American Psychological Association’s position on psychologists participating in military interrogations. Quite different from the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association. Can you comment on the organization you were formerly President of.

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Well, I have to begin by saying that psychologists really want to make their research relevant to society, that we want to give back. Our research gets funded, our students education gets funded, and so we are eager to do things, certainly I, all my life, have tried to make our research relevant to the needs of society. So, many psychologists are military psychologists, many psychologists work for the government in various capacities, doing really important good things. Psychologists were critical in the Second World War. So some psychologists work to give advice to interrogators on how to be more effective, the same way some psychologists work to give advice to police detectives to be more effective. The problem comes when you're giving --

AMY GOODMAN: We have 10 seconds.

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: -- specific advice about a particular individual being interrogated, and at that point, you step across the line, that you cannot abuse your role as psychologist to help an interrogator break a prisoner, psychologically. And that I am strongly against.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo, we're going to have to leave it there. I want to thank you very much for being with us. The book is called The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, click here for our new online ordering or call 1 (888) 999-3877 .

Blanche Moore can sometimes look through a thin strip of unpainted window and see birds flying past


Blanche Moore can sometimes look through a thin strip of unpainted window
and see birds flying past. It's a glimpse of the sky that hangs over the
prison chapel, outside the death row cell she's called home for the past
16 years

Her last day of freedom was July 18, 1989, when she was arrested at her
Sandy Cross mobile home and put into the Alamance County jail, charged
with murdering her 1st husband, James Taylor in 1973; her former
boyfriend, Raymond Reid in 1986; and attempting to murder her then-husband
Rev. Dwight Moore in 1989 all by arsenic poisoning.

She was convicted of Reid's murder in 1990 and sentenced to death. She has
lived on death row for over 16 years.

". when I came here, I lost everything except family, part of me literally
died," she wrote in a recent letter to her brother. She likened her life
now to a party with "lots of people and suddenly, they all go home."

"There's a morbid sense of curiosity about going around to cemeteries and
digging up bodies." Blanche Moore's defense attorney, Mitch McEntire, Aug.
1, 1989

It was the mysterious illness of Rev. Moore that eventually led to his new
wife falling under suspicion by law enforcement for not only his
poisoning, but the possible poisoning murders of a half dozen other

The summer of 1989 became a nightmare of exhumations from four area
cemeteries. James Taylor and Raymond Reid were exhumed from Pine Hill
Cemetery. Blanche's father, Parker D. Kiser, was exhumed from Oakwood
Cemetery in Mebane. Isla Taylor, Blanche's mother-in-law, was exhumed from
Alamance Memorial Cemetery. Joe Mitchell, who had worked with Blanche at
Kroger, was exhumed from Graham Memorial Cemetery.

Blanche had worked for Kroger many years. That's where she met Raymond
Reid. Blanche would eventually sue Kroger, alleging sexual harassment by a
supervisor, and settle for an undisclosed amount. Naturally, the rumor was
she got millions. It also became tricky for her and Reids relationship,
because of his job within the Kroger organization.

Rev. Moore was found to have an arsenic level 120 times normal. When it
was brought up in a conversation with law enforcement officers that her
former boyfriend, Reid, had also died of a mysterious ailment at a
hospital in Winston-Salem, the dominoes began tumbling.

Alamance County District Attorney Steve Balog began seeking exhumations.
The more bodies exhumed with some arsenic content, the more fears grew
that the list of exhumations would only increase.

There was the very real possibility that prosecutors would seek to exhume
Mabel J. Parsons, another former Kroger co-worker; Fred Thomas Vaughn, a
route salesman for American Bakeries; Ina P. Vinson, a Kroger customer;
and John W. Reiber, a member of Rev. Moore's church in Carolina. Inside
the DAs office, there was a "short list" of potential exhumations and a
"long list." As soon as they unearthed a body that did not show any signs
of arsenic, the exhumations would cease.

The atmosphere became so surreal that cemeteries were being referred to as
"Blanche's landfills." There were ghastly "jokes" such as "Blanche's
Cookie Recipes" and even a "Ballad of Blanche Moore" that played on the
radio. There were almost-daily stories in newspapers, and on radio and
television. Blanches family, and the families of all the suspected victims
were besieged by media attention, some from as far away as Australia, into
tales of a "black widow." It had all the elements of a captivating story.

Blanche Taylor Moore went on trial in a Forsyth County courtroom for the
murder of Raymond Reid in October 1990. 6 weeks later, she was found
guilty and sentenced to be executed on Jan. 18, 1991.

Sam Kiser is Blanche's baby brother. Even though he was living in
Salisbury and working as a hearing instrument specialist when Blanche went
on trial, he attended every day of court and became her spokesman. He
fielded calls from not only local and regional media, but national names
Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue, and Geraldo Rivera. Though besieged, Kiser
still does not fault the media for its curiosity.

"They were seeking out a story; I understand that."

Kiser has fielded inquiries into his sisters case from nearly the
beginning. It's a role he didn't seek, a role he wishes had not been
thrust upon him, but it's a duty he carries with a certain peace that
comes from faith.

"Many people have come up to me and asked, 'How's Blanche?'

Once in a while hell still get a call from a TV station in America or
somewhere else on the planet or a producer for a tabloid show in Hollywood
or a writer in New York looking for a story about Blanche's case.

"If they're looking for sensation, I tell them we've already had that," he

He knows people may look at him and whisper, "there's Blanche's brother."

"I don't have any shame in that," he says.

"Some almost apologize for asking about her," he says. "Some, I can tell,
are reluctant to ask, but they want to know.

"What I tell them is she's coping as best she can with her confinement.
She went in (to prison) needing medical attention."

Blanche Moore was not the picture of health when she entered prison and
her health has not improved much. She suffered breast cancer and
treatments have been sporadic.

"Her mammograms have not been run on time, and shes developed problems,
such as a kidney infection," Kiser says. He has complained to the prison
administration and remains forceful. He fired off a letter to the warden.

"I won't put up with a lot of junk," he says resolutely.

At one point, she weighed 84 pounds and was so near to death one of the
guards actually stayed up with her and prayed over her.

It's an ordeal for Blanche to be sent to a physician outside the prison.
She has to be shackled at the legs and wrists and must be accompanied by
four guards in 2 vehicles. Once at the doctor's office, she is paraded
through the waiting area in the restraints.

The side effects of massive doses of chemo and radiation for the cancer
have left her extremities in pain, her feet so numb she has to use a
walker. She lost her toenails and fingernails. Her curly hair fell out.

She has learned self-treatment. She has learned to use a latex glove and
warm water on the small of the back for her asthma.

I visited Blanche Moore at her request. I covered her trial and some of
the subsequent appeals and got to know members of the family, none as well
as Sam Kiser.

He called me one day and said Blanche wanted me to visit. She remembered
me from the trial and had kept up with my writing, and knew there were
questions about her life in prison.

A visitor must negotiate a series of 5 locked gates and be accompanied by
a guard to reach the visitors room on death row at the Women's
Correctional Institute in Raleigh. Chain link and razor wire line the
perimeter. The prison compound is surrounded by tall native pines, belying
its proximity to traffic arteries that pound day and night with cars and

Within the compound are still more chain link enclosures, not unlike
kennel dog runs, in which Blanche can get 45 minutes a day of outdoor
exercise when weather permits. Voices within the various buildings
reverberate through the steel and concrete, mortar and brick. Loud
electronic door buzzers sound as they unlock.

Single Cell A, death row, is adjacent to a pleasant little chapel. A sign
at the gate oddly notes, "No inmates past this point."

The visiting room is painted concrete blocks with a trio of long tables
and plastic chairs. It could be a room off a church fellowship hall with a
table to accommodate a family reunion. The only difference is there is no
food and guards walk back and forth by the large window at one end. The
sounds of voices in stress or the pounding of large steel doors are

Single Cell A is Blanche's home. She wears the female death row yellow
smock. Around her neck is a small jeweled-cross necklace. Her hair has
grown back and remains naturally curly.

Kiser tries to visit his sister at least once a month. This day, he has a
bit of a hacking cough, for which Blanche recommends spirit of peppermint.

At one point, the window in Blanches cell was painted over. She doesn't
know if it was a retaliatory action by the administration or just more

"Before, I could at least look out and see nature and the chapel," she
says without anger.

Blanche said she has coped with prison by "making up my mind not to be
institutionalized." She says she has seen those who rely on pills to
sleep, to escape the day-in and day-out of permanent prison life. She
wears a watch and keeps a calendar. She forces herself to get up and move
around, even if she might not feel well that particular day.

Her fight against becoming institutionalized manifested itself when the
window was painted over. She wrote letters complaining to the
administration. They finally sent back a worker to scrape away part of the
paint from the top half of the window.

But even when the sun sets and darkness falls outside, there's no darkness
on the inside. The lights remain on 24 hours a day. Inmates are required
to be in bed by 11:30 p.m. and remain there until 5:30. Blanche says she
usually goes into her cell around 8 p.m. She wears a mask her brother gave
her to block out the unrelenting light when she sleeps.

Breakfast is at 5:30 a.m., lunch is at 10:30 a.m. and supper is at 4 p.m.

She listens to certain radio stations and television where she gets her
news. She reads voraciously, knits and crochets. She can carry on an
intelligent and up-to-date conversation on world events. Her radio takes
her away from the realities of imprisonment.

Shes had two incidents of violence against her, both in her early years of
incarceration. Once, she was choked badly and a hefty inmate literally sat
on her, nearly suffocating her. In the other attack, she was hit with a
broom handle by an inmate while carrying a pot of hot water from the
bathrooms for making coffee.

She was "written up" for the incident, but it was later overruled as not
being her fault.

When she was in the Alamance County jail early in the case, her attorney,
Mitch McEntire, told the media his client got letters that were usually in
1 of 2 categories: from the deeply religious "who assume she is guilty and
fear her soul is in danger" and others "who take glee at her present
circumstances." There were also the burn-in-hell" letters.

She continues to get letters today. Some want to be pen pals. Some, from
men, propose deeper or more bizarre relationships. These, she says, she
throws away. Some are suspicious. She got one from a 13-year-old inquiring
about her case and she wondered, "Now what would a 13-year-old know about
Blanche Moore?"

She knows many of those letters are due to her infamy. Her first months in
the Raleigh prison, even inmates asked for her autograph. She only signed
her name in cursive in letters to friends, dubious that her signature to
strangers might be sold.

She admits she has entertained thoughts of suicide.

"But," she reasons, "that would be against the Bible." She adds, "And it
might seem as if it was an admission of guilt."

Blanche Moore testified at her trial that she did not commit murder. "I
know there was arsenic in those men, but I didn't put it there," she
testified a decade and a half ago. Her resolve remains just as emphatic

"I did not kill Raymond Reid. I don't know anything about Anti-Ant."
Anti-Ant was an arsenic-based poison used, as its name implies, to
eradicate ants. It was made by a McLeansville business that, shortly after
Blanches trial, ceased manufacture.

Kiser admits he, too, has been a doubting Thomas. Hes agonized "and I've
asked myself, how did she get caught up in this?"

He is convinced his sister is innocent of murder, but he also knows his is
a minority opinion.

"I know some people believe she's guilty and got what she deserved," he
said. "I understand how they feel. We had a family member exhumed, too
(his father). Its easy to form opinions on what we read when all those
bodies were being exhumed."

As he saw the evidence at the 6-week trial piling up testimonies of
arsenic levels in hair and fingernails, timetables, nursing observations,
handwriting analysts, police reports he questioned whether or not Blanche
was telling him the truth. However, after many hours of direct and honest
talk, cajoling and even trying to trick her into a confession, he stands
firm in his support of her.

I've told her, 'Blanche, if I was innocent, I'd write to everyone. I would
proclaim my innocence."

Kiser says, "I asked myself, 'Am I so blind?' I want the truth. In my
natural experiences with her, she couldnt have done it. I have never had
her hesitate when I asked her if she did it."

She told me, "If I did it and kept covering it up, thats a sin, too, and I
won't get on that gurney with a lie on my lips."

The brother and sister still believe Garvin Thomas, a man portrayed as
having an obsession with Blanche, committed the murders out of jealousy. A
note purportedly written by Thomas, and introduced in court, confessed to
the murders. Document examiners for the prosecution and defense jousted
over the authorship. In the end, the note apparently played a minor role
as the jury came back with a verdict of guilty and a sentence of death.

Thomas was troubled by health issues and had difficulty talking due to a
speech impediment. He died before the trial, but Kiser points out Thomas'
letter told of being in certain locations at certain times that could have
corresponded with the poisonings. Kiser spent many hours tracking down
people who knew Thomas, who could testify to his veracity, but in the end,
it has had little bearing on Blanche's case.

Kiser is disdainful of what he considers prosecutorial and judicial
misbehavior during the trial, lack of desire to follow up on Thomas and
those who knew him. The appeals process has raised these and other
challenges but they have borne no fruit for Blanches defense.

Whether justice was served, Kiser knows, is a matter that will never be
settled in his mind.

"If she died today, there would still be questions," he says.

Through the subsequent appeal process, Washington, D.C. attorney William
Taylor III stepped up to help pro bono. Even Kiser sees some subtle irony
in a man named Taylor defending Blanche Taylor Moore. The family awaits a
ruling on Blanche's 2nd motion for appropriate relief, another legal step
in nearly 2 decades of legal steps.

"I shall ask for the abolition of the punishment of death until I have the
infallibility of human judgment demonstrated to me."---- Thomas Jefferson

Blanche Moore, this daughter of a part-time lay preacher, has struck up
correspondence with Catholic nuns, the most famous being Sister Helen
Prejean, a well-known opponent of the death penalty. She was portrayed in
the movie, "Dead Man Walking."

Blanche has formed such strong ties with the nuns that when one was
diagnosed with cancer, she contributed to a memory book for the woman
before she died.

"I see good people like this die," Blanche says, "And I see I have a
wasted life. I can't vote, I have no citizenship. I'm powerless and preyed

But this is the wages of prison. Your life does not belong to you. In
prison a ham biscuit for Christmas is a big deal. Going outside to breathe
45 minutes worth of fresh air is a big deal. Not being attacked by another
inmate is a big deal. Learning to sleep with the lights blazing 24 hours a
day is a big deal. Being able to do something as mundane as stuff form
letters for the governor is a big deal.

Being imprisoned also means she has not been able to attend the funerals
of her mother, Flossie; sister, Virginia or brothers-in-law Robert Simpson
and James Montgomery.

For her 74th birthday last month, she bought a Little Debbie cake and some
ice cream from the prison canteen and shared them and a sandwich with
another inmate.

In a letter to her brother, she admitted her 74th birthday was "sad and

"It's so difficult in this place and I fight to keep my sanity."

Her letter was written with some blue ink and some red. She explained: "my
life use to be so full of color, family, church, friends, love, happiness,
laughter, fun, good colors. I'm not talking about material things, simply
the good things that reach down in the soul."

She ended by saying faith sustains her, even though she lives with a
silent cry and awakes with the knowledge she would face another day "only
by the grace of a loving, faithful father that continues to keep me in his

Blanche reflected on the things she misses.

"The hardest part for me is not to be able to get up and get a glass of
tea or sit on the front porch and watch nature, or phone a friend, or get
into a car and drive to the mall to walk around," she says. Free people
"can get in the car and go. They take (that kind of) life for granted.

"People on outside live by what they see or hear. I live by what I feel
here," she says as she lays her hands on her chest.

An ideal day, if she was a free woman, would be to spend it at her
favorite time, Christmas.

"There would no shopping for gifts. I would just make a list of all my
loved ones and talk with them or spend quality time with them."

Blanche does not fear death. She philosophizes that her life has been one
of lonely confinement and excruciating pain. To her, death would be almost
welcome, she told her brother, "because I would awaken in the presence of

(source: Burlington Times-News)

ECSU students: Kill death penalty


ECSU students: Kill death penalty

North Carolina should give its death penalty not its inmates a lethal
injection, say several students at Elizabeth City State University.

15 criminal justice students at ECSU debated whether North Carolina should
have a death penalty Monday evening. The debate was part of professor Reed
Adams' criminal justice class. The judges, Cornelius Jones, who is a local
probation officer, and Mike Furey, director of Albemarle Offender Referral
Services, agreed that the team that argued against the death penalty
presented the best case.

However, students for the death penalty argued that the majority of
Americans believe that the ultimate crime the intentional death of
another human being should be met with the ultimate punishment death.
After all, they said, 38 states already enforce a death penalty.

"It is something that the American people support," said junior Carl
Morrison, adding that the 1st execution in the United States took place in

Melissa Kight, a senior, argued that the death penalty violates the 8th
Amendment, which protects criminals from cruel and unusual punishment.

Citing the execution of Alabama inmate John Evans, Kight said it took
prison officials 14 minutes and three 30-second jolts of electricity to
finally kill Evans in the electric chair.

Morrison again rebutted, saying that Kight's argument was "pointless"
because she argued against a form of execution and not against the death
penalty itself.

Senior Jill Perry argued that the death penalty also violates one of the
Ten Commandments, which states it is wrong to kill another human being.

Junior Adrian Johnson said capital punishment saves taxpayers money by not
having to support inmates serving life sentences.

"The economy benefits from a death penalty," Johnson said. But that's not
so, said senior Denetra Moody.

Moody argued that the death penalty actually costs taxpayers more money
because of the many costly appeals a death-row inmate makes before he is

Other students who opposed the death penalty said since the introduction
of DNA evidence in 1993, the number of wrongly convicted inmates who were
freed increased from 2.5 inmates per year to 5 per year. But the students
who favored the death penalty argued that DNA evidence also has helped
authorities ensure they were convicting the right person.

Senior Jarvis Horne said sentencing a murderer to life in prison, where he
had plenty of time to think about his crime, was punishment enough.

Frank Fernandez, also a senior, said that according to the FBI the average
stay on death row was more than 12 years. That's plenty of time for a
murderer to ponder his actions, Fernandez said.

"How much time does the victim have?" Fernandez asked. "None."

(source: Daily Advance)

Court: Clear man's record

March 31, 2007


Court: Clear man's record


The state should destroy all records relating to the conviction of a man
freed from Death Row by Gov. George Ryan, the Appellate Court of Illinois
ruled Friday.

Stanley Howard is entitled to have his record expunged after he was pardoned
for a 1984 murder, the court said.

Though the conviction was lifted, his record remained, which Howard argued
would hinder his efforts to get a job once he's freed from prison.

Though Cook County Judge Paul Biebel denied Howard's request for
expungement, the appellate court said he's entitled to it.

But he remains in prison, as he was separately convicted of rape and isn't
eligible to be released until 2023.

Still, "this goes a long way toward clearing his name," said attorney Jon

"This rights the wrongs and is the final step in the criminal courts for
him," said his other attorney, Russell Ainsworth.

But John Gorman, spokesman for State's Attorney Richard Devine, said that
while the office respects the court's opinion to expunge Howard's record,
"he remains a convicted rapist and he's in prison where he belongs."

Howard said his confession to murder came only after he was tortured by
Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge and others.

Howard and three other men, also pardoned by Ryan, are pursuing civil claims
against the city.

Fired in 1993, Burge is retired in Florida, drawing his pension.


Source : Chicago Sun Times,CST-NWS-pardon31.article

Bad justice on display

Bad justice on display

If you have ever found yourself concerned about our state getting bad
press you know, like police officers turning attack dogs loose on school
children, state troopers launching tear gas at innocent marchers or
funding public schools on par with banana republics, that sort of thing
then page A12 of Monday's New York Times would have made you cringe.

In a nifty little item called the "Sidebar," Times writer Adam Liptak
penned a most scathing piece titled, "In Alabama, execution without

It was a brief lesson for the rest of the nation on the criminal-justice
system in our state, particularly the fact that Alabama is the only state
that does not make lawyers available to indigent death-row inmates.

Liptak pointed this out because next month lawyers for death-row inmates
in Alabama will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case.

They will tell the 9 justices that even inmates in Alabama should have
legal representation.

Imagine that.

Of course, our heroic state attorney general, Troy King, will argue the
opposite. As Liptak explained, King filed a brief before the U.S. Court of
Appeals in Atlanta that argued, essentially, that this is the real world,
not some utopia, so get used to it.

The large issue here, of course, is the pathetic state of the criminal
justice system in Alabama. The editorial page of this newspaper has been
against the death penalty for eons, in part because we do not feel it is
possible to construct an adequate legal framework to send a person to
their death, even in a Troy King-inspired utopia.

In the real world, Alabama's criminal justice system is a joke. Any ninny
ought to understand that if you are going to involve yourself in
state-sponsored revenge, you ought to at least have an abundance of
safeguards in place.

We do not, as Liptak rightly said.

There's your big picture, a subject on which many barrels of ink has and
will be expended.

But here's the other issue: What do you think Liptak's piece did for
Alabama in the collective psyche of the nation? What's that? You don't
read The New York Times? Nor do a lot of others. But you can bet that it
made the rounds from New York to California and points between.

What did those millions of gentle readers pick up from Liptak's story:
Alabama is not far from where it was back in the bad, old days of fire
hoses and attack dogs.

Whether or not you agree with the death penalty, isn't it important to
keep Alabama from looking like the Sudan of the South?

That can't be good for business.

As long as our elected leaders put politics ahead of common sense and
sound judgment, the Adam Liptaks of the world will have plenty of
unpleasant pieces to write about Alabama.

We got what we deserved on Monday. And we'll get it again unless we set
about first to allow the indigent on death row access to legal
representation and then to call a halt to executions.

(source: Editorial, Anniston Star)

Bulgarian nurses' death penalty clash strands ship in Malt

March 31


Bulgarian nurses' death penalty clash strands ship in Malta ---- Libya
blocked access to cargo ship following Bulgarian boycott

The international clash following a Libyan courts shocking death sentence
to Bulgarian nurses accused of intentionally infecting 400 children with
HIV, has left a Bulgarian cargo ship stranded in the Grand Harbour.

The Bulgarian ship 'Smolyan' was on its way to Tripoli, the Libyan
capital, with a cargo of metal rods, when the ship captain was informed
that Libyan authorities will not be allowing the ship to enter the Libyan
ports. The Libyan governments move comes weeks after a number of Bulgarian
shipping organisations, led by the Bulgarian Association of Ships Brokers
and Agents (BASBA), "decided to boycott Libyan ships and cargoes...[and
to] refuse to serve ships flying Libyan flag and represent Libyan
principals on international freight market," as indicated by a letter sent
by the same association.

The BASBA boycott is part of an international initiative condemning the
Libyan court's decision, following a 7-year trial, that ended by
condemming the 5 Bulgarion nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death, for
allegedly infecting over 400 children with HIV in a Benghazi hospital.
Even the EU has condemned the sentence.

Bulgarian government's orders

On Thursday, the Bulgarian ship scheduled to unload in the Tripoli port,
entered Maltese waters, following instructions from the Bulgarian
government. "The diversion was a result of a letter sent by the consular
department at the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry. The letter announced that
the Bulgarian embassy in Libya could not ensure the ships unobstracted
entry into the Libyan port" captain Hristo Donev, the director general of
the ships company 'Navigation Maritime Bulgare', told the FOCUS
Information Agency.

Throughout Friday, the Bulgarian ship laid moored at Laboratory Wharf,
Corradino and was expected to unload its cargo of metal rods on quay, to
be later reloaded on another ship that would then transport the cargo to
its original destination. But the 1993 built, 'Smolyan', is expected to
remain in Malta at least until Sunday, due to the 'Regatta' boat racing
activities to be held on Saturday (a Maltese national holiday), sources at
the harbour told

HIV spread by lack of hygiene, experts say

In the meantime, the Bulgarian government, who is insisting that the 5
nurses are innocent, has formally asked Libya to explain why it is
stopping Bulgarian ships from entering its ports.

Libyan courts accused the six medical workers of intentionally infecting
over 400 children with HIV, 40 of whom died, to find a cure to the AIDS
disease. But the nurses, backed by numerous experts and international
organisations, are maintaining innocence. A number of experts, including
Professor Luk Montanie, who discovered the HIV virus, testified that the
children were infected due to poor hygiene conditions in the hospital.
Moreover, the defence lawyers also gave proof that the children were
infected before the nurses arrived in Libya.

But last December, the court surprised the world by putting the nurses,
and the Palestinian medic, to death row.

Politically charged

The court case was also politically charged, when the Libyan Leader
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, accused the health workers of acting on orders
from the CIA and the Israeli secret service, Mossad, an allegation which
was later withdrawn.

Last January, Gaddafi linked the nurses' death sentence to the lifetime
imprisonment of Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, the Libyan accused with the
Lockerbie bombing in Scotland. Bulgarian newspapers quoted the Libyan
leader saying "Libya called for Al Megrahi's freedom the imprisonment of
Al Megrahi meant that the Bulgarian nurses were not going to be freed

George Michael in aid of nurses' campaign

The maritime dispute comes on the same days as an international coalition
for the freedom of the Bulgarian nurses started meeting in Paris, France.
The coalition, 'You are not alone' aims to bring widespread international
support for the nurses' freedom, through petitions, international
conferences, and other events. British singer George Michael is the first
international celebrity to support the coalition. He will be giving a
conference in aid of the nurses' freedom campaign in Bulgaria, next May.

And in a bid to help the nurses gain their freedom, a Bulgarian civil
rights group nominated them to become candidates for the upcoming European
Parliament elections in Bulgaria, following the country's EU membership
last January. But the Bulgarian parliament did not accept the nomination.
"The populist statements that the nurses' death sentences could be changed
because of the nomination were inhumane the proposal for the nomination
harmed Bulgarias position that the nurses were innocent" Bulgarian MPs
argued, as quoted by the Sophia Echo news website.

(source: Malta Star)

Friday, 30 March 2007

Did doctor monitor executions?

Doctor who attended at least 18 state executions speaks publicly, breaking the anonymity that has surrounded capital punishment. His deposition shows the clash between medical ethics and the law

Published: Mar 29, 2007 12:30 AM
Modified: Mar 29, 2007 04:56 AM

RALEIGH - A prison doctor stood in a small observation room near a brain-wave machine during the state's past two executions.

He said in an interview this week that as the inmates died just a few feet away, he did not monitor their level of consciousness, and prison officials never asked him to, despite a federal judge's order requiring that.

The question of whether Dr. Obi Umesi can stand in the observation room with a heart monitor and brain-wave monitor and not track a dying man's vital signs is at the center of a legal dilemma that has delayed five executions in this state.

If Umesi monitored the dying man's consciousness, he might have violated his profession's ethical rules.

If he did not, the state would be violating the judge's order.

State lawyers indicated that they would dispute Umesi's comments. After his Monday interview, the state Attorney General's Office, which represents prison officials, released a 188-page deposition he gave Dec. 1. In it, Umesi said he looked at the brain-wave monitor and viewed its readings.

"Technically, they are in the same room as the monitors," said Umesi's lawyer, Robert Clay of Raleigh. "They are specifically not looking at the monitors."

Umesi said Monday that his only duty was to be present and he did not violate his ethics.

"I would not participate in an execution," Umesi said. "I would not voluntarily take a life."

Umesi's decision to speak publicly and the release of his deposition, part of federal litigation about the state's lethal injection procedures, have pierced the secrecy that surrounds executions.

A state law protects the identities of those at executions. The deposition of Umesi protected his identity, referring to him only as "Team Member 3" and was taken over the telephone equipped with a voice-altering device. The Attorney General's Office released a copy of the deposition and Noelle Talley, the agency's spokeswoman, identified Umesi as "Team Member 3."

Umesi, 50, is a contract physician with the prison system who works 12-hour evening shifts at Central Prison on Thursdays, when executions occur. He has been Wake County's jail doctor since 1991. Public records show Umesi has certified condemned inmates' deaths since 2003 and has been present at more executions than any other doctor -- at least 18 of the past 20.

Before the past few executions, Umesi said, he waited in the warden's office until someone brought him an EKG printout and a death certificate filled out except for his signature. He said he certified the inmates' deaths without ever seeing the inmates' bodies. Two other doctors who have done execution duty in interviews described a similar routine.

In April, U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard allowed the execution of killer Willie Brown to proceed. But he said a doctor must watch a brain-wave monitor to ensure that Brown was fully sedated before being injected with paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs.

A lawsuit had questioned whether inmates were conscious when injected with the fatal drugs.

Brown and Samuel R. Flippen were executed last year under that order.

For the past few executions, Umesi said, Warden Marvin Polk asked him to move closer to the second-floor death chamber. Umesi said he stood on the back wall of an observation room, unable to clearly see the brain-wave and heart-rate monitors or the inmate on a gurney.

Umesi said the warden did not ask him to do anything else. "He asked nothing more than being present," Umesi said.

Asked whether he looked at either the brain-wave monitor or the heart-rate monitor, Umesi said: "I would not be observing those."

Staff writer Andrea Weigl can be reached at 829-4848 or

Did doctor monitor executions?

Doctor who attended at least 18 state executions speaks publicly, breaking the anonymity that has surrounded capital punishment. His deposition shows the clash between medical ethics and the lawA state law protects the identities of those involved in executions. However, prison officials and their lawyers have repeatedly said in court records and at court hearings that the doctor who is present at the execution signs the condemned inmate's death certificate. A separate state law requires the warden to send a letter verifying that the inmate was executed to the clerk of court in the county where the inmate was sentenced the death. The warden and the prison physician sign that letter.

The News & Observer was able to obtain copies of those death certificates and letters in 36 of the last 43 executions.

Dr. Obi Umesi and Dr. Paula Smith, now the prison system's chief of health services, sat down for an interview Monday at their lawyers' office. Umesi, Smith and Dr. Olushola Metiko are represented by Raleigh lawyers Robert Clay and Diane Meelheim. Those three doctors were present for at least 24 of the last 27 executions since 2001. Meelheim said Metiko was unable to attend the interview.

Another former prison doctor, Dr. Barbara Pohlman, also was interviewed. All three -- Umesi, Smith and Pohlman -- described staying in the warden's office during executions and signing the documents without seeing the inmate's dead body. Public records show Smith had execution duty at least five times from 2001 until 2002 when she says she was the director of health services at Central Prison. Her predecessor in that job, Pohlman, certified inmates' deaths in at least six executions from 1998 to 2000, records show

Asked why she stayed away from the death chamber, Pohlman said that everyone else was gathered in the warden's office. "I assumed it was established practice," she said.

Retired Drs. Rosemary Jackson of Bahama and Edwin Scott Thomas of Raleigh also were identified by public records as the doctors who signed death certificates for executed inmates. Neither returned messages or responded to requests for interviews.

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Clay, Umesi's lawyer, said, "They are not reading the monitors."

Umesi said prison officials never told him about the judge's order. He said he was unaware until last month that a judge had expected the doctor to be more actively involved in executions. He said the warden showed him a document written by the prison system's lawyers that mentioned doctors monitoring vital signs. Umesi wasn't clear which document he was shown. Afterward, Umesi said he refused to attend any more executions.

Another account

Umesi's sworn deposition, however, contained varying accounts of his actions.

Umesi was adamant throughout his deposition that his only duty was to be present and certify the death, as state law requires. He said a registered nurse was responsible for observing the brain-wave monitor and reporting the reading to the warden.

However, Umesi said he stood in front of the heart monitor, viewed its readings and told the warden, when asked, that the inmate's heart had stopped.

Later during the deposition, Umesi said he looked at the brain-wave monitor during the last two executions and viewed its numerical readings to see when it dropped below 60, which indicates the inmate is unconscious. But Umesi refused to say it was his duty to track the inmate's consciousness.

The lawyer asked: "Do you have any obligation as Team Member 3 to measure the level of consciousness or unconsciousness during the course of an execution?"

Umesi replied, "Could you define 'obligation' in this context for me please?"

"Let's get at it this way maybe: Are you required to do so by statute?"

"I'm required to be present during an execution by statute."

"And based on your understanding of the statute, are you required to measure the level of consciousness or unconsciousness during the course of an execution?

"I'm required to be present during an execution by statute," Umesi said.

There, but not watching

On Wednesday, Clay, Umesi's lawyer, said Umesi could not see the screens of the heart monitor or the brain-wave monitor during the execution. At least two other medical professionals are in front of those machines during the executions, Clay said. After the execution, Clay said, Umesi can see the monitors' screens but only after he moves.

"He can physically see the monitor from where he is. But he's not in a position to see the screen," Clay said.

Umesi's contention that he never monitored the inmate's consciousness disturbed lawyers who represented those executed inmates.

"I'm really bothered that Judge Howard's order was violated," said Greensboro lawyer Don Cowan, who represented Brown. "I'm bothered by an execution taking place at all costs -- regardless of what Judge Howard ordered them to do."

"It seems to me they thumbed their nose at Judge Howard's order," said Raleigh lawyer Robert Zaytoun, who represents an inmate whose execution has been delayed. "They, in fact, never advised the physician what was required of them. By moving them up to the second floor, they made them into window dressing. It sounds contemptuous to me."

Keith Acree, the spokesman for the N.C. Department of Correction, declined to comment about Umesi's statements or what if any instructions the warden gave Umesi. "Due to the extensive execution related litigation in which DOC is currently involved, I am not able to answer your question about instructions from the warden to the doctor," Acree wrote in an e-mail message.

The potential fallout from Umesi's statements is unclear. Durham lawyer Thomas Loflin, who represented Flippen, said his client's parents may pursue a wrongful-death claim.

Umesi's statements did pique the interest of the federal judge. Howard's law clerk, Joe Ableidinger, said, "Judge Howard looked back at his order. He thinks it's clear."


Staff writer Andrea Weigl can be reached at 829-4848 or