Jim Good's Reviews > The Autobiography of an Execution

The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Dow
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's review
Feb 19, 2010

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bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from March 01 to 07, 2010

A comfortable read that fits in naturally with my liberal inclinations. Dow is a lawyer who represents death row clients in Texas and lets his frustrations show. His argument is that the death penalty is wrong regardless of circumstances even though he admits to the nature of most of the people he represents. The book is not preachy and doesn’t get into the frivolous economics of the argument. It instead relies on his nature as a human being and inclinations of right and wrong to draw that conclusion. The crux of the book seemed to be that the system works towards making sure it is technically right when morally it could be lax. He doesn’t absolve himself in this at times pointing out that his responsibility is to extend the process, not to find a livable arrangement for his clients.

The book centers around a case where Dow believed his client is actually innocent of the charges (one of a very few). It shows the legal arguments and appeals process as well as details of how a client would find out his final appeal is rejected. It tries to portray the costs that his stance takes on his personal life, the judiciary, and society in a larger scale.
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