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Defending an Innocent Man

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May 7, 2008

Today, Brian Stull, Staff Attorney for the Capital Punishment Project, blogged in DailyKos about the experience of co-defending Levon “Bo” Jones, who was set free from a North Carolina

prison last Friday after being on death row there for 14 years. Brian writes about his trepidation leading up to Bo’s release, and the elation upon learning that Bo’s case was dismissed:

I left work early to take care of my son but kept checking my Blackberry, hoping for news. Finally, at 5:30 p.m., I saw a message from [co-counsel Cassy Stubbs] with the subject line: THEY ARE DISMISSING BO JONES. I have never felt so many emotions at once. I jumped up and down in my kitchen, yelling, “Yes, yes!” My 21-month-old son soon began imitating me, joining in my shouts of glee. And I was soon crying. I think it was for the sheer relief, the sadness for the 14 years on death row that Bo lost, and for how close he came to being executed for a crime he did not commit.

The story of Bo Jones’ exoneration is on the front page of today’s New York Times. The article confronts the two events in the last week that have pushed the death penalty to center stage: Bo’s release, and last night’s execution of William Earl Lynd, who was the first person to be executed since an unofficial death penalty moratorium gripped state execution chambers anticipating a decision by the Supreme Court in Baze v. Rees, the challenge to the constitutionality of the lethal injection protocol.

You can learn more about the Bo Jones case, and deep flaws in this country’s death penalty system, by attending the ACLU Membership Conference from June 8 through 10. There will be panel discussion called “Capital Punishment: Race, Faith and the Courts” on June 9 that will feature Reverend Carroll Pickett, subject of the soon-to-be-released death penalty documentary, “At the Death House Door.”

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