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Im MUND findet Ihr eine Rubrik, die eine Konsequenz aus der redaktionsinternen
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Beiträge nicht zu veröffentlichen, einerseits, die Problematik
von Zensur andererseits versucht: unter "B) Eingelangt, aber nicht
aufgenommen" wird - in anonymisierter Form - auf angehaltene Beiträge
hingewiesen und eine kurze Begründung der/des Tagesredaktuers
für die Nichtaufnahme geliefert. Die AbsenderInnen werden hiervon
Und für nächsten Donnerstag:
...und was mache ich eigentlich gegen rassisten?
AKTIONEN UND ANKÜNDIGUNGEN
01 Depot-Programm in der Woche von 13. bis 17. Mai
Liebe FreundInnen des Depot,
sehr geehrte PartnerInnen,
anbei erhalten Sie das Depot-Programm der kommenden Woche.
Auf einen Besuch freut sich das
Montag, 13. Mai, 19.00
Asta Gröting im Gespräch mit Stella Rollig
Was macht einen Menschen zu dem, was er ist? Die Bildhauerin und
Videokünstlerin Asta Gröting ist physischen wie psychischen
Steuerungsprozessen auf der Spur. Neben Organ-Skulpturen arbeitet sie
an Inszenierungen mit BauchrednerInnen. Die fortlaufende Video-Serie
Die Innere Stimme ermöglicht Asta Gröting ihren Interessensgebieten
nachzugehen: der Psychoanalyse und kulturellen Prägungen,
Kommunikationsmustern und dem Trivialen, der "Kirmes-Ästhetik", einer
Welt, die der Künstlerin "einfach bessere Laune" macht.
Die Eröffnung von Asta Grötings Einzelausstellung in der Galerie
Martin Janda findet am Dienstag, 14. Mai, um 19.00 statt.
Donnerstag, 16. Mai, 19.00
Gender-Aspekte in der Architektur
Architektur reflektiert soziale Beziehungen, geht aber gleichzeitig
über die reine Repräsentation gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhänge
hinaus. Wie weit eine solche Beeinflussung geht, zeigt sich, wenn man
der Frage nachgeht, wie Weiblichkeit und Männlichkeit durch ein
architektonisches Umfeld zugeschrieben, und dadurch
Geschlechterrollen tiefgreifend geprägt werden. Das in diesem Monat
erschienene Buch Building Gender bildet die Grundlage für eine
Diskussion zur Form und Geschichte dieser Zuschreibungen, die sich in
der Raumaufteilung am Arbeitsplatz, im Wohnungsbau und den
High-Tech-Projekten der vergangenen Jahre finden lassen.
Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Universität Wien.
Sonja Hnilica, Institut für Baukunst, Bauaufnahmen und
Architekturtheorie, TU Wien.
Kari Jormakka, Herausgeber von Building Gender.
Dörte Kuhlmann, Herausgeberin von Building Gender.
Moderation: Rosa Logar, Interventionsstelle gegen Gewalt, Wien.
Freitag, 17. Mai, 15.00
Der andere MQ-Rundgang
Das Museumsquartier bietet seit Jahren Führungen an, die das Areal
von seiner besten Seite zeigen. Es gäbe auch die Möglichkeit, alles
düster und dunkel zu zeichnen. Und es gibt die Chance, an einer
Führung teilzunehmen, die unterschiedliche Aspekte gegeneinander
abwägt und ursprüngliche Absichten und Entwicklungen mit den
Ergebnissen heute in ein Verhältnis setzt.
Katharina Gsöllpointner, Medientheoretikerin, Wien.
Georg Schöllhammer, springerin, Wien.
Die Teilnahme an der Führung ist kostenlos. Anmeldung unter 522 76 13
oder firstname.lastname@example.org. Treffpunkt: Depot, Breitegasse 3.
1070 Wien, Breitegasse 3
01/522 76 13
02 Here's More... This & That!
Von: "Abraham J. Bonowitz" <email@example.com>
Sent *only* to CUADPUpdate
Feel free to forward
Many thanks to those who have offered advice and tangible
assistance - I have received several heartfelt messages of encouragement
and remedy based upon personal experience. More on that soon.
For now I want to get this message out before it gets too hot --
the air conditioner that cools this room has up and died, and being in
South Florida, I now (sort of) regret the teasing I have been giving our
Canadian friends who were still dealing with ice and snow even a few weeks
AND NOW, MORE... THIS & THAT!
A Word on the latest Viruses
Obituary - Judge Sabo Meets His Maker (GOOHF URL)
The Latest Polls - People Prefer Alternatives!
The Ohio State Law Journal Symposium....
Judaism & The Death Penalty
A WORD ON THE LATEST VIRUSES
And now a word on VIRUS PROTECTION. You have probably noticed
that there are several viruses running rampant - it is almost beyond belief
how many have been sent to CUADP's various e-mail addresses. The latest
virus going around spoofs the "from" email address, so the person "sending"
it to you isn't REALLY the person "sending" it to you, if you get my drift.
It's called Klez. I get several of them a day, too. Here's more about it:
It is possible that you will be blamed for sending someone a virus when you
don't actually have the virus - that is because someone else has it and has
you in their address book, and the virus randomly picked your address to
"spoof". I knew something was up when I received the following:
> Date: Mon, 6 May 2002 09:21:35 -0400 (EDT)
> From: cuadpupdate-subscribe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Category
Obviously, I wouldn't be sending a virus to myself, and messages CANNOT be
sent from that address anyway! Someone on the CUADPUpdate list is infected
- so I hope you are reading this, and you have already figured it out and
fixed it! If YOU don't KNOW that you're computer is clean, read on!
DON'T RUN YOUR COMPUTER WITHOUT PROTECTION!!!
It is always a good idea to run a virus scan at least weekly and using an
old virus scanner without updating it at least weekly won't help you. To
use an always-updated, free online virus scanner, try
CUADP uses Command anti-virus software, which you can download at
<http://www.commandcom.com>. It works, which is why I recommend it.
BUT, NO VIRUS PROTECTION SOFTWARE WILL PROTECT YOU AGAINST THE OTHER KIND
OF VIRUS - THE HOAX. Hoax viruses come disguised as well meaning
suggestions from someone you know who is forwarding debugging instructions
"from someone I know." I've seen this from several of you in the past few
days - the instructions invariably tell you how to delete a specific file
>>from your computer - but the file they tell you to delete is a necessary
part of your operating system! So, beware!
Finally, one addition protection CUADP uses. We use e-mail software
(Eudora) which allows the user to designate the maximum size of a file to
automatically download. I have it set at 60KB, which is more than enough
to allow most regular e-mails to come through. When a message is larger, I
receive the header information and sometimes the first few lines of a
message, and then I decide to download the full message, or delete
it. Most virus-laden messages seem to be about 120,000 KB or more. It is
amazing how many virus-laden messages have been blocked using this
system. Give it a try!
OBITUARY - JUDGE SABO MEETS HIS MAKER
My standard reply when asked about the case of Mumia Abu Jamal is that "I
don't know if he is guilty or innocent, but I do know this: Mumia and each
of the other 30 men sentenced to death in Sabo's courtroom deserve a new
and fair trial. Judge Sabo has shown himself to be a racist and a
The following obituary ran in today's Philadephia Inquirer. CUADP's
condolences go out to the Sabo family. It is always a sad moment when a
life ends. We hope and pray that Judge Sabo will find peace and receive
more mercy than he himself dispensed throughout his life. AND, we hope he
packed a "Get Out of Hell Free" card.... which you can get for yourself at
Posted on Fri, May. 10, 2002
Albert F. Sabo, 81, Abu-Jamal trial judge
By Rusty Pray
Inquirer Staff Writer
Albert F. Sabo, 81, the Common Pleas Court judge who presided over the
trial of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an event that resonates in Philadelphia to this
day, died Wednesday of heart failure at Chestnut Hill Hospital.
Born in Philadelphia, Judge Sabo grew up in the Northern Liberties section
of the city and had been a resident of Mount Airy.
Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death after he was convicted in a two-week trial
in 1982 of murdering Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in
He went on to become an international symbol for foes of the death penalty.
He is litigating from jail, his death penalty overturned but his conviction
upheld by a federal judge in December after years of appeals and
rallies. That decision is being appealed.
Judge Sabo went on to become the judge in whose courtroom more people were
sentenced to death than any other in Pennsylvania.
For 15 years, Judge Sabo was among a dozen Philadelphia judges who heard
only homicide cases. At least three other defendants brought before him
were convicted of murdering police officers. He also presided over the 1988
trial of Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo.
According to a 1992 Inquirer article, he was the judge in 31 cases that
resulted in the death penalty - the most in the state. One in six people
sentenced to die in Pennsylvania were sentenced in Judge Sabo's courtroom.
No other judge in the country had put as many people on death row, the
"Some said he was a tough judge - and he was," said Judge David N. Savitt,
a senior judge who has been hearing homicide cases for years. "But he was
fair, he was honest, and he was devoted to his work."
Judge Sabo's son Mark said that all his father "ever tried to do was the
right thing. He wanted justice done. Period. To me, he was the epitome of
what a man should be. He was honest, he had integrity, and, quite frankly,
he was my hero."
Higher courts regularly were asked to consider whether the defendants
sentenced in Judge Sabo's courtroom were deprived of a fair trial. In 1987,
defense attorney Richard Sprague contended in court that no criminal
defendant could get a fair trial before him.
Judge Sabo offered a succinct defense. "I'm a tough judge," he said in a
1992 Inquirer interview. "I didn't commit the crime. I was only the
mechanic through which the jury verdict was carried out."
Judge Sabo was considered by many pro-prosecution, but Savitt said that "to
the extent that human frailties permit, defendants get fair trials in
Philadelphia courtrooms - including Judge Sabo's. Despite that some defense
lawyers wanted to avoid him, he had a work ethic and a sense of justice,
and he concerned himself with that."
In the Abu-Jamal case, the "conviction has been supported by the record,"
Judge Sabo began his career on the bench in January 1974 after spending 16
years as a Philadelphia undersheriff, beginning in 1957. He also practiced
law privately. He became a senior judge in December 1990 and was
transferred to the civil division. He retired in 1998.
Judge Sabo graduated from Roman Catholic High School in 1938 before earning
a bachelor's degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University
of Pennsylvania in 1942. He earned a law degree from Penn in 1949.
He belonged to the Philadelphia and American Bar Associations, the American
Judicature Society, the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, and
the National Sheriff's Association.
Judge Sabo was honored several times, including by the Chapel of Four
Chaplains and the Catholic War Veterans as man of the year. In 2001, he
received service awards from the County and State Detectives Association of
Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Emerald Society.
An Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, Judge Sabo was one of the
organizers and the first post commander of St. Agnes Post 1132 of the
Catholic War Veterans.
In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 40 years, Helen;
another son, Gregory; and a granddaughter.
A viewing will begin at 9 a.m. tomorrow at Kociubinsky Funeral Home, 307 E.
Girard Ave. A Funeral Mass will be said at 11:30 a.m. at St. Agnes-St. John
Nepomucene Catholic Church, Fourth and Brown Streets. Burial will be at
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham.
Memorial donations may be made to the Sisters of Saints Cyril and
Methodius, Danville, Pa. 17821.
CUADP encourages donations in Sabo's memory (to help correct his evil ways)
United Against the Death Penalty
P.O. Box 58128, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215-724-6120 Fax: 215-729-6189 Website:
THE LATEST POLLS - PEOPLE PREFER ALTERNATIVES!
(It's all in how you read the numbers... See more on polls at
This is from ABC.COM
Life or Death?--Poll: More Americans Still Favor Death Penalty
The terrorist crimes of Sept. 11 haven't altered basic views on capital
punishment: Americans still divide about evenly on whether murderers in
general should be put to death or locked up for the rest of their lives.
Most don't object to the death penalty on principle. A new ABCNEWS.com
poll finds 65 % of Americans support capital punishment when no
alternative is offered. But given life without parole as an option,
people divide 46 % for executions, 43 percent for life in prison. These
results are about the same as they've been in ABCNEWS polling for the
last two years, with support for the death penalty below its peak.
Previous polling has shown a decline in belief that executions work as a
deterrent, and concern about uneven enforcement.
The Death Penalty Trend
Support the Death Penalty Oppose the Death Penalty
Now 65% 26
April 2001 63 28
Sept. '94 (Gallup) 80 16
Now 46 43
April 2001 46 45
Feb. '99 (Gallup) 56 38
These questions ask about punishment for convicted murderers in general;
support for the death penalty can be higher in specific cases. Last
spring, for example, 75 % of Americans favored executing Oklahoma City
bomber Timothy McVeigh. He was put to death by lethal injection on June
Preference for mandatory life prison sentences runs highest among
nonwhites, Democrats, women and young adults. But even among Republicans,
who very broadly support the death penalty in principle, far fewer - 50 %
prefer it to mandatory life.
Given the choice, men prefer capital punishment over mandatory life by 53
% to 36 %, while women prefer mandatory life, 49 % to 39 %. Whites prefer
the death penalty by 50 % to 40 %, but nonwhites broadly favor life
terms, 59 % to 26 %.
This ABCNEWS.com survey was conducted by telephone May 1-5 among a random
national sample of 1,021 adults. Each question was administered to a
random half of the total sample. The results have a 4.5-point error
margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation were done by TNS
Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.
(source: ABC News)
THE OHIO STATE LAW JOURNAL SYMPOSIUM: ADDRESSING CAPITAL PUNISHMENT THROUGH
Foreword: Addressing Capital Punishment Through Statutory Reform by Douglas
Expanding Felony-Murder in Ohio: Felony-Murder or Murder-Felony? by Dana K.
When Legislatures Delegate Death: The Troubling Paradox Behind State Uses
of Electrocution and Lethal Injection and What It Says About Us by Deborah
The Proposed Innocence Protection Act Won't--Curbing Mistaken Eyewitness
Identifications by Margery Malkin Koosed
Opting for Real Death Penalty Reform by James S. Liebman
The "New Abolitionism" and the Possibilities of Legislative Action: The New
Hampshire Experience -- by Austin Sarat
The Death Penalty in Ohio: Fairness, Reliability, and Justice at Risk by S.
Should Abolitionists Support Legislative "Reform" of the Death Penalty? by
Carol S. Steiker & Jordan M. Steiker
Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary
by Victor L. Streib
Striving to Eliminate Unjust Executions: The ABA's Individual Rights and
Responsibilities Section Protocols on Unfair Implementation of Capital
Punishment by Ronald J. Tabak
Death Without Justice: A Guide for Examining the Administration of the
Death Penalty in the United States ---- American Bar Association
Ohio's Death Penalty Statute: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (source: Ohio
State Law Journal)
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it continue, PLEASE join those who have kept CUADP going with whatever you
can offer on a one-time OR monthly basis by using CUADP's secure server to
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please call 800-973-6548 (or 561-743-8878 on your dime) or mail your
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CUADP thanks you for your consideration and looks forward to hearing from you.
(Small print and disclaimers at <http://www.cuadp.org/support.html>
...and now back to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress....
JUDAISM and THE DEATH PENALTY
One of the most common and immediate arguments thrown in the face of
abolitionists is "An Eye For An Eye." In fact, this was MY response the
first time I heard a speaker on the death penalty. These days, my first
response to someone who says that ("an eye for an eye") is to ask them if
they are Christian. Most of the time they say they are, and then I point
out to them that if they are going to rely on the Hebrew Scriptures to
support their argument, then they also must understand that Jewish law
(Halacha) is based not on the fundamental interpretation of the Torah, but
on *current rabbinic interpretation*, which says.... (see below). Then I
remind them that Jesus said, "You have heard it said 'An Eye for an Eye,
but I tell you different' ..." (Paraphrasing). Anyway, no matter what your
religion, if you expect to be able to discuss the death penalty issue
comprehensively, you need the following information. Enjoy!
Does Judaism Condone Capital Punishment?
While the Torah supports the death penalty in principle, it places
formidable obstacles to its implementation--and the Talmud nearly drove
the executioner to extinction.
Does Judaism condone capital punishment?
Supporters of the death penalty often cite the Bible to bolster their
position. "Ye shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer...he
shall surely be put to death" (Numbers 35:31). Indeed, the Torah
specifies a full litany of offenses for which a person may be put to
death, including murder, idolatry, blasphemy, adultery, violating the
Sabbath, wizardry, and rebelling against one's parents. The punishments
for each transgression are noted as well--stoning, burning, and slaying
by the sword.
But the recording of these laws in Scripture may give a false
impression about the actual practice of capital punishment in ancient
Israel. While the Torah supports the death penalty in principle, it
places formidable obstacles to its implementation. HUC-JIR Bible
Professor Dr. David Sperling has observed that the well-known lex
talionus (law of retaliation) "Thou shalt give life for life, eye for
eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning,
wound for wound, stripe for stripe" (Exodus 21:23-25) may appear to
endorse capital punishment, but it is actually a formula for restricting
the punishment to be meted out. "In contrast to the Code of Hammurabi [an
earlier legal code well known in the ancient Near East]," Professor
Sperling writes, "biblical law limits the death penalty to the
murderer--a family member cannot be executed in his/her place"
(Exodus 21). Moreover, the defendant may not be put to death unless
two (or in some cases three) eyewitnesses testify against him or her.
Each witness must be so certain of his testimony that he personally
would be willing to carry out the execution.
Deuteronomy 19:13-21 asserts that a false witness is subject to the
same punishment as the defendant--including, presumably, death.
The Torah also distinguishes between a premeditated murder and
unintentional killing. In the case of an unintentional slaying, the
killer is permitted to take refuge in one of six cities on the other
side of the Jordan River (Numbers 35:9-15, Deuteronomy 4:41-43, Joshua
20). The pattern of not inflicting the ultimate punishment is
established early in the Bible. After Cain kills his brother Abel in a
fit of rage, God does not demand Cain's life in retribution; instead,
Cain is set free to wander the earth. The mark God places on Cain's
forehead is not a sign of punishment, as is commonly assumed, but one of
protection; it served as a kind of mobile "city of refuge," warding off
anyone seeking to avenge the wrong Cain had committed.
Interpretations in the Rabbinic Age
The rabbis who compiled the Talmud in the first centuries of the
Common Era interpreted and expanded upon the biblical laws governing
capital punishment. They too stipulated transgressions deserving of
death, among them idolatry, bestiality, blasphemy, illicit sex,
violating the Sabbath, witchcraft, and adultery in certain
circumstances. Then, in meticulous detail, they linked each crime with
its corresponding method of execution (stoning, burning, strangulation,
or slaying by the sword).
Grisly punishments all--but it is highly doubtful that the rabbis
ever actually imposed the death penalty. After a long, elaborate
discussion of the class of capital crime befitting the stubborn and
rebellious son and a description of how the execution was to be carried
out, the Talmud states: "It never happened and it never will happen."
The passage then explains that the entire matter is presented purely for
study: "That you may study [the Torah for its own sake] and receive
reward" (Sanhedrin71a). In other words, the discussion of capital
punishment in the Talmud seems to exist only in the realm of theoretical
speculation, just as--after the destruction of the Temple in
Jerusalem--all the laws of sacrifice were retained and studied long after
the sacrifices ceased to be offered.
Capital cases were heard by a court of 23 judges (Sanhedrin 2A)
and, in some cases, 71 judges (Sanhedrin 2A, 15A, & 16A), all of the
"Anyone fit to try capital cases could also try monetary cases," the
rabbis stated, "but a person fit to try a monetary case may still be
unfit to try a capital case" (Nida 49B).
According to Rabbi Judah, a person whose disposition is cruel should
be excluded from sitting in judgment in such cases (Sanhedrin 36B). Not
only should a person's own record be pure and righteous, but his
ancestry had to be free of blemish before he could sit on this court
(Sanhedrin 36B). The judges sat on three rising semicircular tiers, as
in an amphitheater, in order to see one another, and all murder cases
were tried in the light of day; in these ways, everything could be open
and aboveboard. Two judge's clerks stood before them, one to the right and
the other to the left, and wrote down the arguments of those who would
acquit and those who would condemn; both clerks were necessary as a
precaution against any mistake. Rabbi Judah said that there were three
such clerks: one to record arguments for acquittal, a second to record
arguments for conviction, and a third to record arguments for both
acquittal and conviction. Witnesses stood in front of these tiers of
The stringent demands on witnesses in capital cases rendered almost
impossible the likelihood that a defendant would be convicted. To ensure
that a witness's testimony was not based on conjecture (e.g.
circumstantial evidence), hearsay, simple rumor, or the observations of
another witness, the court would "fill the witness with fear."
Witnesses were asked to establish the day and hour of the crime and
explain the circumstances surrounding it (Sanhedrin 2B). They were then
warned that they would be subject to rigorous questioning and relentless
cross-examination and held personally responsible should the accused be
falsely condemned. Bearing false witness in a capital case was in itself
a crime punishable by death (Sanhedrin 9B, 32B, 86A, & 89A).
A witness in a capital case had to have seen the entire crime as it
was being committed; circumstantial evidence was inadmissible. For
example, Rabbi Simeon ben Shatach witnessed the following incident: "I
saw a man chasing another man into a ruin; I ran after him and saw a
sword in his hand dripping with the other's blood, and the murdered man
in his death agony...." Even though he was convinced of the man's guilt,
the rabbi could not testify against him, because he did not see the
actual crime (Sanhedrin 37b).
Not only did witnesses have to see the crime take place, they had to
have warned the perpetrator prior to the act that he was about to commit
a capital offense. According to Rabbi Judah, a warner even had to inform
the perpetrator of the type of execution prescribed for his crime
(Sanhedrin 8B). The perpetrator was then obliged to have verbally
acknowledged this warning by saying something like, "I know I am warned
not to do this"; to have admitted his liability to death by adding
something like, "even though I shall be punished by such-and-such
manner, yet I want to go ahead and commit this crime"; and to have
committed the murder within the time needed to make such an utterance
(Makkot 6A). The great eleventh-century commentator Rashi explains this
last restriction by suggesting that if a murder was delayed longer than
the time necessary to make an utterance, the plea might be accepted that
the perpetrator had forgotten the warning altogether. Furthermore, two
or three witnesses had to have similarly interacted with the accused.
And on the unlikely chance that such witnesses could be found, the
court could convict the accused only if guilt could be proven beyond a
According to the Talmud, "A doubt in capital charges should always
be for the benefit of the accused" (Baba Batra 50B, Sanhedrin 79A). In
reaching a verdict, a judge was free to argue in favor of the accused,
but not against him. A judge who had argued initially for condemnation
could subsequently argue for acquittal, but one who had argued for
acquittal could not argue later for condemnation. Acquittal in capital
cases required a majority of one vote, condemnation a majority of two. A
verdict could be reversed for acquittal if errors were revealed, but no
new evidence was allowed which would reverse a decision from acquittal
Staying the Execution
Following a guilty verdict, provisions were made to stay the
execution. A herald was dispatched to announce something like:
"So-and-so, son of so-and-so, is going forth to be stoned because he
committed such-and-such offense, and so-and-so are his witnesses. If
anyone has anything to say in his favor, let him come forward and state
If someone offered to make a statement in favor of the condemned
man, a retrial followed.
A person was stationed at the door of the court holding a signaling
flag, while a horseman stood at the ready within sight of the signalman.
If one of the judges said he had something further to state in favor of
the condemned, the signaler waved his flag, sending the horseman to
postpone the execution. Indeed, even if the condemned said he had
something further to plead in his own favor, the court was obliged to
reconvene (Sanhedrin 42B).
Rabbinic attitudes concerning the death penalty are also reflected
in statements such as "a Sanhedrin that effects an execution once in
seven years is branded a destructive tribunal." Rabbi Elizer Ben Azariah
said "once in seventy years." Rabbis Tarfon and Akiba said, "If we were
members of a Sanhedrin, nobody would ever be put to death." In
that same Gemarra, however, Rabbi Simeon Ben Gamaliel dissented: "If we
never condemned anyone to death, we might be considered guilty of
promoting violence and bloodshed.... [We] could also multiply shedders
of blood in Israel" (all Makkot 7A).
40 years before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., the rabbis abolished
capital punishment altogether (Soncino Talmud, Sanhedrin page 161,
footnote 10). Rather than applying the four methods of execution
themselves, they ruled that punishment should be carried out by divine
agencies (Sanhedrin 37B, Ketubot 30A, & 30B). In other words, a
punishment so awesome as the taking of a person's life should not be
entrusted to fallible human beings, but only to God.
This ruling does not mean the rabbis dispensed with punishment
altogether. On the contrary, they expressed no compunction about
decreeing corporal punishment--harsh physical suffering. If the
rabbis/judges were convinced of a defendant's guilt in a capital
case, but the high standard of evidence did not permit execution, he
would be sentenced to prison on a ration of bread and water.
The thrust of Jewish tradition and the historical positions of the
Reform Movement (see sidebar) impel us to oppose capital punishment in
principle and in practice. A person wrongfully flogged for robbery can
heal. A person improperly imprisoned for murder can be exonerated and
set free. But someone put to death for a crime he/she did not commit can
never be redeemed. If we are true to our faith and our tradition, we
must respond to the imperative of its teachings and do everything we can
to keep our society from committing the ultimate of injustices: the
wrongful execution of an innocent person.
(source: Rabbi Daniel Polish, HUC-JIR class of 1968, is director of the
Joint Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and co-author with
Rabbis Daniel Syme and Bernard Zlotowitz of Drugs, Sex and Integrity
(UAHC Press); Reform Judaism Magazine, Summer 2002)<P>
Reform Judaism on Capital Punishment
The Reform Movement has a long history of opposing the death penalty.
In 1959, the UAHC adopted a resolution which states: "We believe that
there is no crime for which the taking of human life by society is
justified and we call upon our congregations and all who
cherish God's mercy and love to join in efforts to eliminate this
practice which lies as a stain upon civilization and our religious
"Our opposition to the death penalty was so firm," says Al Vorspan,
director emeritus of the Commission of Social Action of Reform
Judaism, "that we appealed to Israel not to set aside its deeply held
commitment against the death penalty even in the case of Adolph
The UAHC reaffirmed its opposition to the death penalty in 1999,
when it passed a resolution on race and the U.S. criminal justice system
which states: "Statistical evidence shows that African-American men are
disproportionately represented among those on death row and
those who have been executed in the last twenty years. Although people
of color are the victims in more than half of all homicides, a White
victim case is over four times more likely to result in a death sentence
than a comparable Black victim case...."
The Central Conference of American Rabbis expressed its opposition
to capital punishment in 1958, 1960, and in 1979, when it adopted a
resolution which states in part: "No evidence has been marshaled to
indicate with any persuasiveness that capital punishment serves
as a deterrent to crime....We oppose capital punishment under all
In 1959, Women of Reform Judaism (then known as NFTS) adopted a
resolution which includes the following: "We believe there is no crime,
however horrendous, for which society has the right through its judicial
processes to order the taking of human life. Rather, it is the
obligation of society to evolve other more effective and more humane
methods in dealing with crime. We pledge ourselves to try to prevent
crimes by removal of their causes, and to foster modern methods of
rehabilitation of the wrongdoer in the spirit of the Jewish tradition of
teshuvah (repentance)....This practice is a stain upon
an entire penal system and brutalizes the human spirit. We appeal to
our members and to all who cherish God's mercy and love to join in
efforts to eliminate this practice which lies as the blemish upon our
civilization and our religious conscience."
Israel and the Death Penalty
So great is the Jewish revulsion against capital punishment that when
the Jewish state was established in 1948, even though the death penalty
was initially permitted and death sentences for murder handed down,
these sentences were never carried out; instead the convicted were
sentenced to life in prison.
At Israel's 1st murder trial, both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi
chief rabbis sent a cable to the Minister of Justice, urging him to
abolish capital punishment at once and warning the court that punishment
of death was incompatible with the teachings of Judaism and a sin against
Partly as a result of their statement, when the penal laws were revised
6 years later, in 1954, the death penalty was abolished, with one
exception: if the accused was found guilty of participation in genocide
and treason during a time of war. Only one person has been executed in
Israel since 1948: Adolf Eichmann, administrator of the Nazi destruction
of the Jews of Europe.
(source: Union of American Hebrew Congregations)
Have a happy weekend.....
Now it is time for the monthly
CHECK YOUR BREASTS WARNING!!! DO IT NOW. DO IT NOW. GET AWAY FROM YOUR
DESK -- GET UNDER IT IF NECESSARY -- AND JUST FEEL 'EM FOR A MINUTE.
( . Y . ) <------ feeeeel 'em!
Much better than
/ ( .)
--In memoriam and with love for Pam Roberts, Kathy Acker.
Linda McCartney. And Dusty Springfield.
Go to <http://www.thebreastcancersite.com>
All you do is click a button and a woman gets a free
mammogram at no cost to you. It is paid for by corporate
sponsors (who gain advertising in the process because you
see their logo.) Only one donation per person, so please
pass the word.
03 Even more... This & That!
Von: "Abraham J. Bonowitz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent *only* to CUADPUpdate
Feel Free To Forward
It's become clear that some people don't even read this far into
these messages. If they did, they would know that to stop having to delete
them, all they really need to do is follow the "unsubscribe" directions at
the very end of every message, which says to simply send a message to
<email@example.com>. IF those who wish to
unsubscribe try that and have trouble, all they need to do next is send a
pleasantly phrased message (Or the most moronic and/or obscene thing they
can think of) to <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and she will help them out..... How
much more simple could it be?
It's also come to our attention that a number of recipients
forward part or all of CUADPUpdate. That's cool too. But if you do that,
please give those on your list the chance to get it all, and not just what
you choose to send on, by suggesting the send a message to
And finally, it is clear that anyone who has read this far finds
something to appreciate in most posts sent to CUADPUpdate. That would be
you. It would be useful, then, if you would respond to this message with
your answer to the following questions:
What do you find most useful about CUADPUpdate?
What do you find least useful about CUADPUpdate?
What city and state do you live in?
What one thing do you need to enhance your work for alternatives to the
What talent or resource can you offer the abolition movement at this time?
And Now... EVEN MORE.... This & That!
What Is Happening In Oklahoma?
More on the Permanently Retired Judge Sabo
Moratorium in Maryland: How Did They Do It?
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN OKLAHOMA?
Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 08:49:59 -0500
From: "KEVIN ACERS" <email@example.com>
Subject: "Project Justice" article
The day after we had our "100th Release" press conference at the ACLU
office a few weeks ago, the Oklahoma County DA called a press conference to
announce "Project Justice," a review of past cases for possible DNA
testing. He presented it as the one magic bullet that will repair any/all
problems in the system. It was classic damage control. At the same time,
even with its conditions and narrow scope, it's a good step and an
admission to the possibility of mistakes having been made.
This week's Oklahoma Gazette, which came out yesterday, includes my
commentary on the details of "Project Justice" (page 4).
(Unfortunately, the OK Gazette is a weekly alternative and they don't put
everything on the web <>, so perhaps an Oklahoman or an Oklahowoman will
send the appropriate text along.... Great job, Kevin and OCADP!)
MORE ON THE PERMANENTLY RETIRED JUDGE SABO
Jane Henderson is one of the people who has been doing abolition work from
the Quixote Center (Equal Justice USA/Moratorium Now! Campaign). Jane is
also one of those people who has been working on Mumia's case for a long
long time - longer than most people other than those who have been there
since the time of the crime. Jane sent the following reflection:
Abe and all,
With every thing else that has happened this week, it was only today that I
heard of Philadelphia Judge Sabo's death.
While known for presiding over Mumia's trial, I think it is important to
note that his record in Philadelphia goes way beyond Mumia's case.
Though he stopped presiding over trials in 1990, as of 1995 he still had
the NATIONAL record, having sentenced more than twice as many people to
death than any other judge in the country -- 32 in total! Many are still
on PA's death row. I suspect that he has died still in the lead.
The thing about Sabo is that he never let go of a case, sitting on every
post-conviction appeal in Philadelphia filed in one of his capital cases.
During Mumia's post-conviction hearing in 1995, his behavior was so
outrageous, we found that even journalists most convinced that Mumia was
guilty and had had a fair trial, would start rethinking things after just a
few minutes in his courtroom. Finally, in 1997, after Sabo had made his
damaging findings in Mumia's and other appeals, he became such an
embarrassment that the PA Supreme Court forcibly retired him!
I never want to celebrate a death, but I do hope Sabo's passing is symbolic
of a new beginning in Philadelphia. Not to offend anyone in the South, but
residents used to call Phili "upsouth" due to it's stark record of
sentencing so many black defendants to death and life sentences (life has
always meant life in Pennsylvania!)
Our 1995 report on Judge Sabo, last updated in 1996, gives many more
details about his outrageous legacy. I share a link to it on our website
MORATORIUM IN MARYLAND: HOW DID THEY DO IT?
From: "C.E.D.P. Washington, DC" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Brief History of the Victory in Maryland
Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 18:54:12 +0000
Thought you might be interested.
I received an email from Italy this morning with one simple question: how did
activists in Maryland succeed in winning a moratorium? I am writing this to
try to give a response to that question (although, this is by no means
exhaustive or the final word.)
This victory has been the product of years of hard work by tons of hard
working groups and individuals. As one of the people that has been in this
fight for years, I thought I would share some of the history behind this
success to help people bring the lessons back to their various struggles.
The key lesson to learn from this victory is that what we do as activists
matters. Activism and pressure from below can change things. Our
persistence and stubbornness even in the face of defeat succeeded in shifting
the climate to the point that this success was possible.
Maryland's first execution since reinstatement was John Thanos on May 17,
1994. This execution was very hard on the abolitionist movement. John
Thanos was a volunteer -- that is he supported his own execution and fought
to make it happen. The state was willing to oblige and Thanos was executed,
despite the tireless efforts of many attorneys to intervene and stop the
The first real show down over the death penalty in Maryland was fought out
around the case of Greg Hunt. As the execution approached in 1996, Prince
George's County Senator Trotter lead a fight to halt the execution because
of racial disparities on MD's death row. A week before the execution in
1996, and after Greg Hunt's attorneys had already submitted their petition
for clemency to the Governor, the MD Court of Appeals intervened and stayed
the execution. Hunt's attorney's begged the Governor not make a decision
until Hunt again faced the prospect of execution.
The Governor, seizing this 'hand-washing' opportunity, immediately rejected
Hunt's petition. This sent a strong signal of his support for the death
penalty. However, the Governor did yield to pressure from Senator Trotter
and others and authorized the first study on Maryland's capital punishment.
This study was inconclusive, but it did recommend further examination of the
issue of racial disparities.
When the court's finally rejected Hunt's appeal in 1997. These were dark ages
for Maryland's anti-death penalty movement. Executions were on the rise
nationally, and Maryland was definitely starting to follow that trend. The
tone of the abolitionist movement was determined, but also quite pessimistic
about prospects. Those who organized opposition to the death penalty had no
idea of their future success, however Greg Hunt's case was the first battle
around which the issues and players who would ultimately bring a halt to
executions first emerged.
Greg was a poor black man from Baltimore City accused of shooting a white
Police officer. He was the first black to be executed since reinstatement.
He was also the first non-volunteer to be executed since reinstatement of
the death penalty in Maryland. His case drew in MD Delegate Salima Siler
Marriott into the fight against the death penalty. Delegate Marriott, a
former civil rights organizer now local politician, from then on would lead
the charge in the MD General Assembly against the death penalty.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, MD Coalition
Against State Executions, and the newly formed Campaign to End the Death
Penalty worked to organize grassroots opposition to the execution. Groups
argued that blacks and poor people are much more likely to die than others
convicted of similar crimes. We organized a small town meeting, a press
conference, a petition campaign, and a demonstration. Also, the Journey of
Hope, a national anti-death penalty tour featuring families of murder victims,
happened to be in during the last week of the fight and helped organized a
demonstration and vigil against the execution.
[Abe's note -- The Journey Bus, "Abolition Movin' "
(<http://www.journeyofhope.org/abolition_movin.htm>) had arrived on its
maiden voyage, having been driven by Bill Pelke down to Houston for the
National Coalition conference, and then back up to DC with a load of
abolitionists for the annual Fast & Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty (see
<http://www.abolition.org/annual.html>). A large group of Fast & Vigil
attendees rode the Journey bus to Baltimore to protest the Hunt killing,
which also happened to the 400th execution since reinstatement.]
Greg was executed on July 2, 1997. But many activists learned serious
lessons that were to serve us well in the next fight. We learned how to work
with attorneys, how to verify facts, how to organize a press conference, and
how to organize effective demonstrations. It was during that fight that a
fighting abolitionist movement began to emerge.
A year later the state began making plans to execute Tyrone Gilliam. Tyrone
Gilliam was a Muslim prison activist and an eloquent opponent of the death
penalty. He helped start the 'Live from Death Row' forums
in which death row inmates call in via speaker-phone and address rallies
against the death penalty. Tyrone spoke before thousands of students and
activists from his prison cell at universities across Maryland and the
United States. Tyrone worked closely with the Campaign to End the Death
Penalty -- and was successful in building a significant opposition to the
Also, Tyrone was a bridge to building strong ties to family members of death
row inmates. Far from being passive victims, family members have played
a leading role in opposing the penalty in MD. They have been a powerful
voice humanizing and speaking on behalf of those who the state plans to
At its height, death penalty opponents lead a march of over
500 people against the death penalty two weeks before Tyrone's executions.
Tyrone Gilliam was a poor black man accused of killing a white person. Also,
serious questions remained about whether Tyrone Gilliam was guilty of the
crime he was accused of committing. For many his case exemplified everything
that was wrong with the death penalty -- its racism, its arbitrariness, and
its threat to innocent people.
At that point Governor Glendening was running for reelection. His website
advertised the execution of Greg Hunt as one of his 'accomplishments' as
Governor in the previous term. When asked publicly about whether he might
support a moratorium Glendening repeatedly said, "No. I will not enact a
moratorium." Glendening was elected in early November 1998. The press
reported that it was black voters that provided the margin for his victory.
Two weeks later, Tyrone was executed on Nov. 16, 1998. But in the aftermath,
Delegate Marriott and the Legislative Black Caucus along with Katy O'Donnell
of the MD Public Defender's office were able to pressure Governor Glendening
to issue a $225,000 study of racism in Maryland's death penalty.
2 years later the state was making plans to execute Eugene Colvin-El, another
poor black man accused of killing a white, in June 2000. This was after
Illinois became the first state to declare a moratorium on executions when
Governor George Ryan halted executions in his state. Ryan's decision was
incredibly important, because it had shifted the entire debate around the
death penalty. Now a debate was raging across Maryland about whether innocent
people could die. As it turned out that Eugene Colvin-El's case was full of
holes and questions of innocence. Colvin-El was convicted based merely on
circumstantial evidence. In the new climate of questioning of the death
penalty many former death penalty supporters now openly questioned the
execution of Eugene Colvin-El. Among them were former death penalty
prosecutor and former Mayor of Baltimore Kurt Schmoke. Also crucially,
one of the state's leading newspapers, the Baltimore Sun, shifted its
full weight behind the call to stop Colvin-El's executions and for a
Taking advantage of the shifting climate death penalty opponents, lead by
the Campaign to End the Death Penalty held several marches, ran a half-page
advertisement in the Baltimore Sun, and a large town meeting featuring
US Rep. Elijah Cummings, US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., MD Delegate Salima Siler
Marriott, and John Gilliam-Price (the brother-in-law of Tyrone Gilliam.), and
Norma Brooks-McRoy (Colvin-El's niece). These events as well as a series of
ads placed by the Delegate Pete Rawlings and other members of the legislative
Black Caucus forced Governor Glendening to commute Colvin-El's sentence.
Six months later (2001), hot off the victory on Colvin-EL, Delegate Marriott
along with Senate Majority Leader Clarence Blount introduced bills in the MD
General Assembly calling for a halt to all executions pending the outcome of
the Governor's study. Death penalty opponents launched a serious grass roots
effort. Groups like Equal Justice USA printed a half-page ad in the Baltimore
Sun calling for a halt to executions. Also, the Campaign to End the Death
Penalty printed ads in 7 local community and university newspapers making a
similar call. These ads went along with several marches, town meetings, and
letter writing campaigns. Also, lead by the MD Catholic Conference,
abolitionists launched a serious lobbying effort in the MD General Assembly.
Groups including Amnesty International, Equal Justice USA, American Civil
Liberties Union, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, and others all worked
together to press politicians to stop executions.
The moratorium bill passed the MD House of Delegates. It also passed the MD
Senate Judiciary Committee. It only failed when one Senator launched a
filibuster blocking the bill from being voted on in the MD Senate. This
bitter defeat showed both how much progress death penalty opponents were
making, but also how deep and vicious our opposition could be.
In the mean time, a couple victories in the courts regarding challenges to
the Constitutionality of MD's death penalty law helped delay executions for
some time. Abolitionist took advantage of the time these court challenges
afforded us, by continuing to build public support for a moratorium.
Significantly, Equal Justice along with the NAACP launched a mass postcard
campaign calling for a moratorium.
That brings us to now. Wesley Baker was scheduled for execution on the week
of May 12th in Maryland. He was another poor, black man accused of killing
a white. Death penalty opponents began an effort including letters to the
editor, town meetings, several marches, the placement of a large billboard
in Baltimore City calling of a stop to executions, press conferences, email
and phone call efforts. Again, the same great coalition of groups came
together to fight for a moratorium: Delegate Marriott, MD Catholic
Conference, ACLU, Amnesty International, Equal Justice, MD CASE, and the
Campaign to End the Death Penalty all organized to pressure the Governor
to stop executions.
We pointed out that MD has the highest percentage of blacks on death row of
any state in the US. We also pointed out that 12 of the 13 men on MD's death
row are convicted of killing whites, in a state where black account for 80%
of murder victims each year.
In the context of a new Governor's race (Glendening cannot run again because
of term limits), groups successfully pressed Lt. Governor and leading
gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to call for a moratorium.
One week before the execution the MD Catholic Conference called for a public
demonstration of opposition to the planned execution. 150 people showed up
in Annapolis (an hour drive for most participants) to show their opposition.
It worked. The next morning the Governor held a press conference and said
the word he once promised to never say: moratorium.
Campaign to End the Death Penalty
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10. 5. 2002, 18:00 Uhr
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