POLI 203
Race, Innocence, and the End of the Death Penalty
Mondays, Wednesdays, 2:30–3:20 pm
Hamilton Hall, Room 100, Spring 2018

Prof. Frank R. Baumgartner
313 Hamilton Hall, phone 962-0414
Web site: http://www.unc.edu/~fbaum/

Office hours: M, W, 3:20-5:00 pm and by appointment

[Note: This page is in constant development throughout the term during which the course is taught.]

Click here for the syllabus. Click here for some suggested research project topics.

Click here for background about our speakers. Includes links to learn more about them before they come and to learn about their cases. Click here for a printable poster.

Here is a template for your term papers. Here is a copy of the references from Deadly Justice, as a word file. Follow this format. Feel free to cut and paste these as well. Here is a copy of the draft of Chapter 6 of Deadly Justice, as a word document. Note that the tables and figures were included in different files for publication, but you can insert yours straight into your documents.

Watch this space for announcements.

Books for purchase (all are required):

Note: Because of the nature of the subject matter in this course, including murder, torture, and unspeakable crimes, many of the readings include passages that may be quite upsetting. There is no way around this, given the nature of the course material.

Week 1, Jan 10, Introduction and overview

Week 2, Jan 17, The US Supreme Court Invalidates (1972) and Validates (1976) Capital Punishment, Creating the “Modern” Death Penalty System
(No class on Jan 15, happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

Week 3, Jan 22, 24, Race, Gender, Heinousness, and Geography

Week 4, Jan 29, 31, Reversals, Delays, Exonerations, Methods, Stays

Week 5, Feb 5, 7, Mental Illness, Public Opinion, Cost, Deterrence

Week 6, Feb 12, 14, The Decline of the Death Penalty and Conclusions

Speaker 1: February 12, LaMonte Armstrong and Theresa Newman

Week 7, Feb 19, 21 How Innocent People Get Convicted

Speaker 2: February 19, Darryl and Nannie Howard

Week 8, Feb 26, 28 Innocence, Mistakes, and Flaws, continued

Speaker 3: February 26, Penny Beerntsen and Katie Monroe

Week 9, Mar 5, 7 Review, Questions, and Catch-up

March 7: first draft of research projects due in lecture

Speaker 4: March 5, Gary Griffin and Ken Rose

Spring Break, Mar 10-18

Week 10, Mar 19, 21 Introduction to the Troy Davis case

Speaker 5: March 19, Chris Turner

Week 11, Mar 26, 28, Troy Davis, part 2

Speaker 6: March 26, Kimberly Davis

Week 12, Apr 2, 4, America’s System in Comparative Perspective

Speaker 7: April 2, Jerome Morgan

Week 13, Apr 9, 11 Continuation on Comparative Perspectives

Speaker 8: April 9, Marty Tankleff, introduced by Marc Howard

Week 14, Apr 16, 18 North Carolina: From Mandatory Death to the Racial Justice Act to the “Restoring Proper Justice Act” and a 10 year Moratorium

Read this OpEd by Shirley Burns: Mother: Don't execute my son because of his race. Charlotte Observer, 15 March 2018.

Slides for Monday, Wednesday

Listed to this podcast from NPR's "More Perfect" series on Batson v. Kentucky and its aftermath (about 40 minutes of audio)

Week 15, Apr 23, 25 Conclusion and Review

(Note: Class on April 25 will be conducted by the TA’s and will focus on the exam)
Final research projects due in lecture, April 25

Final Exam: Tuesday May 8, 8am-11am, in the regular lecture hall, beautiful Ham 100. Good luck!

Useful web sites to consult throughout the term:
An interesting NYT story from 1988 about what it's like to be a capital defender.
During his talk to class a few years ago, Ken Rose talked about a film called "Fourteen Days in May" about one of his clients from Mississippi. Here is a youtube link to this film, which runs about 90 minutes.

If any of you are from Winston Salem, or even if not, you may be interested in this film: The Trials of Darryl Hunt. Darryl was a friend, and wonderful person; he previously spoke in this class. This documentary tells about his wrongful conviction for a brutal killing and the horrible racial dynamics surrounding the trial. He served almost 20 years in prison and when he returned to the community he was a leader for reform.

Compassion is a newletter / magazine published six times per year containing articles written by death-row prisoners across the country, and distributed for free to all death row inmates. The current editor is George Wilkerson, on North Carolina's death row.

In 2014 Glenn Ford was exonerated after 30 years on death row in Louisiana. The prosecutor in his case all those years ago, Marty Stroud, has recorded this apology to him. Mr Ford has already passed away now from lung cancer.

Resources related to juvenile LWOP and related matters:

We have the opportunity to visit Death Row at Central Prison in Raleigh on these dates: Friday Feb 23, Monday April 30, Friday May 4, Monday May 7, Friday May 11. We will meet here on campus at just before 8am, in the area right behind Hamilton Hall between Hamilton and Davis Library. We will carpool, so when you sign up, please indicate if you can drive, and if so how many people you can fit in your car. We'll depart from Hamilton Hall promptly at 8am and assemble at the visitor's entrance (a little room near the front gates of the prison) in time for the 9am tour to start. The tour is generally about 2 hours, so from 9 to 11. We should be back to campus by about noon. The prison is located at 1300 Western Boulevard, Raleigh. See Baumgartner after class or at any time to sign up. Only 30 people can go on any tour. If you do sign up, please show up! If you need to cancel after signing up, please do so as soon as possible so another student can be added to the group. There are many restrictions on what you can wear to prison; basically you can't wear tight clothes or show gang signs. But see these two documents for more information. One is a form I had to sign, another is a set of instructions I made about 2 years ago. Note the concern about body piercings. Surgical implants: you will need a letter from your doctor. Everyone has to go through a very sensitive metal detector.

Poll Everywhere: You each need to sign up for this, following these instructions (carefully!). The key element is to do it through the UNC web site, rather than directly through the Poll Everywhere web site, because by doing it through the UNC site, it allows us to link your answers to your ONYEN and your PID, which lets us keep track of your responses. If you do it wrong, we will have no record of your use of the system. So please make sure you do this with care.

page last updated April 21, 2018