Compassion and capital punishment

Danalynn Recer is persuading jurys to value life

While emotions are running high about the death of Osama bin Laden, we forget that death penalty is still a reality in the US. This is the story of a Texan lawyer, Danalynn Recer, who is a prominent mitigation strategist, representing defendants in death penalty cases.

Mitigation  aims to tell a defendant’s life story and it is thought to have significantly contributed to bringing the number of executions down.

The Mitigator

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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2 Responses to Compassion and capital punishment

  1. johanna11 says:

    Interesting article of Danalynn Recer and her work. Here in Australia, this work of setting the defendant’s actions in the context of their life, is something that my husband also did, for many years, in his psychological reports for the court.

  2. johanna11 says:

    Sorry, that was rather foreshortedned!

    I found the story of Danalynn Recer’s work beautiful and inspiring – done as it is, in the context of a death penalty so easily, and sometimes it seems, even glibly, applied. The person needs to be seen for the human being they are, and not for the criminal that people so often take him/her for.

    Australian law does not have the death penalty. Nevertheless the consequences for a person’s life of a conviction and a prison sentence can be quite devastating, with its repercussion on their family life, employment, etc.

    As a clinical psychologist, my husband was often asked to write reports for people who had to appear in court for an alleged offense. His approach was to present the person as a human being, showing the various relevant events and influences on their behaviour and character formation. It seems that the judge was often greatly helped by being enabled to see the person before them in the broader context of their life experience.

    It is vital that the person in court should be understood, or seen as they are, as far as possible. Sometimes it seems some of the court’s proceedings can prevent this from taking place. No legal system is perfect, and I would just like to add that we need to be willing to modify existing customs and proceedings, in order to render a fuller justice.

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