Monday, August 20, 2007


Benefit Concert a Smashing Success

This past weekend marked the 12th Annual National Habeas Corpus Seminar. Here’s a description of what that seminar entails just in case you were curious: “This nationally-recognized program, the only one of its kind, focuses on representation in capital habeas cases in toto. Habeas experts discuss issue identification, investigation, factual and legal development and representation of claims, the use of mitigation and mental health experts, and substantive and procedural habeas corpus jurisprudence. The program is designed for, and attendance is limited to, Federal Defender staff, Criminal Justice Act panel attorneys, and state court practitioners who are currently appointed, or seeking appointment to, a capital habeas corpus proceeding.”

Now I’m not a fancy big city lawyer (Simpsons quote for you fans out there), and some of the terms above I don’t understand. What I do know though is that this seminar attracts some of the best lawyers out there (many of which work on death penalty cases) and gives them the tools to do their jobs even better. And, it’s facilitated by the best of the best in that field. These lawyers and experts work hard, but they also know how to play hard, which is why they host a benefit concert to which the proceeds are directed to various charitable groups. This year, ALL of the proceeds went to TCASK. When Susan McBride, who coordinated the concert, informed of this, we were thrilled. Susan worked hard to ensure that we had some A-list acts as well as great publicity—both were achieved. Thank you so much Susan for making this a great night.

The night at Third and Lindlsey was kicked off by the young, but very talented Sarah Lenore. It then shifted gears to the attorney roots rock group, The Reprieves. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical at first to hear a band made up of lawyers, but my skepticism turned to wonder as I watched and listened to a passionate band made up of passionate attorneys—including John Blume and Keir Weyble. I feel very privileged to have met these two amazing individuals who have dedicated their lives to one of the toughest fields in law. A very special thanks goes out to John and Keir who helped make the concert a success.

Next up was Nashville’s own Jonell Mosser. Jonell did not disappoint and I am looking forward to hearing her amazing voice in the near future. After Jonell came Joshua Black Wilkins. Wilkins got the house rocking with a fast paced alt-country that had everyone nodding their heads and tapping their feet. Last, but certainly not least, was Grammy award winning artist Jon Langford. Jon was equally impressive and capped of an amazing night to which everyone in attendance was in awe. Thanks to all the artists who devoted their time and effort to this fantastic night of activism and music—two things I am very fond of.

A slide show of pictures taken by our very talented TCASK photogs Harry and Karan Simpson can be found HERE.

Comments :
It may have been a smashing success, but four more killers are likely to die in Tennessee this year. Good luck stopping those. Workman's execution paved the way.

In other Sixth Circuit news, Ohio will likely start up again. The denial of Cooey's lethal injection claims must be appealed to the Supreme Court by September 1--there will likely be a relatively quick "cert. denied" on that one. That would pave the way for the setting of a bunch of dates, thereby allowing Ohio's executioners a lot of training--practice makes perfect, you know.

Kentucky just set a date for a cop killer. Likely that he will get some final justice too.

Texas just executed its 400th killer. More are on the way. And the US, as a whole, will likely execute more people this year than it did last year. Quite a feat, given all of the bogus lethal injection claims circulating and the lawless federal judges trying to stop these injections.
I was not here for Workman's execution, but I know that the pain associated with his killing was immense. I remember reading the article on CNN which highlighted the high probability that it was not his bullet that killed Lt. Oliver. Despite the lingering doubt of that case, you state that it "paved the way." I suppose you are correct in stating that it has "paved the way" for more cases that are extremely troubling in the minds of many, such as EJ Harbison.

It is a grim image, picturing a human being strapped to a table, expecting to be executed without pain or suffering, but instead receiving just that. Perhaps, in a more archaic time of this civilization, acts such as these would be permissible. But, the likes of Angel Nieves Diaz who took 37 minutes to die, rather than the usual 15, makes me think that little has changed. Diaz had a troubled past, committed many crimes, and by the law, was guilty of killing the manager of a strip bar. Although there were many problems within his trial, I do not believe he deserved to suffer those extra 22 minutes before he was killed.

I believe that these lethal injection claims will gain more strength and momentum and my hope is that as long as we have the death penalty, we can at least get it right by killing these men and women as fast as possible. They are going to be killed, that is written in stone, but the suffering that lethal injection may incur is not.
I was here for the Workman Killing and what a champion he was. Even though he knew he did not kill anyone he went to his death forgiving those he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt would be killing him. Not only that but he left a legacy that the state cannot match no matter how hard they try.
While the state allows homeless people to starve and die on the street Workman's last wish was that they would be fed his last meal.
Whenever people are happy that people are being executed, no matter how humane they try to make it sound, it is a tragedy.
We will all reap the benefits of not only the actions but also of the thoughts we sow into peoples lives. You don't sow beans and get potatoes, so remember whatever you speak over other's lives will come back to you and your generations to come.
We all need to talk a little less and pray a little more when all that comes out of our mouth is evil.
James said it just right when he said that the tongue is the hardest thing there is to tame.
"Champion" is hardly the word I'd use for a person who, at the very least, robbed a fast-food restaurant and caused the death of a cop. He's responsible for Lt. Oliver's death. You know it, and I know it.
I completely agree with you anonymous about Workman being responsible for the death of Lt. Oliver. He fired at police officers, no one can deny that.

However, when did Cheryl ever say that he wasn't responsible? I believe that she was lauding Workman for his grace and forgiveness, traits that I admire greatly. Finding positivity amongst such negativity is also a trait I find admirable, thanks Cheryl.
Hey Anonymous,
May I congratulate you.
You are quite correct on what you said. I did make a mistake on not saying that Philip did rob the store and ultimately he was responsible and never denied that himself but even more than that you commented without being critical or demeaning. You have potential my friend.
"This past weekend marked the 12th Annual National Habeas Corpus Seminar."

Was there a special Kathleen Culhane award?
Seminar, not an awards ceremony.

What Culhane did was reprehensible, which is way she was punished.

I think prosecutorial misconduct is far more prevalent than the sparse cases that exist such as Culhane's.
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