Statewide Protests of Brown Execution

There will be protests in nine North Carolina cities to protest the execution of Willie Brown today. Sorry that I did not get this out there sooner, but I just found the information on all of the events this morning. If you have time and are interested in voicing your opposition to the State of North Carolina killing in your name, please attend one of these:


Prayer Service at the Vance Monument, intersection of Patton Avenue and Biltmore in downtown Asheville, Thursday, April 20, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.


The Gaston Coalition for a Moratorium Now has scheduled a candlelight prayer vigil for Thursday, April 20 at 7:15 p.m. at Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church in Belmont (Gaston County), 503 N. Main St.

Chapel Hill

Prayer Service at the Newman Catholic Student Center, 218 Pittsboro St., at 7 p.m. April 20. The Rev. Dale Osborne, associate pastor of Binkley Baptist Church, will lead the service. Also speaking are Dr. Arthur Finn, who will speak on medical ethics and lethal injection, and Dale Pollitt, UNC law professor.


Vigil in Marshall Park, located between 2nd and 3rd streets in downtown Charlotte, April 20, 6 p.m. The vigil will be held at the statue of Martin Luther King.


A prayer service will be held April 20, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Watts Street Baptist Church, 800 Watts Street.


There will be a vigil in front of the courthouse at the corner of Market and Eugene streets 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. April 20.


Vigil on the steps of the Murphy courthouse on Peachtree Street at noon April 20.


There will be a prayer service at the NC State Doggett Center for Catholic Campus Ministry, located at 600 Bilyeu St., at 7:30 p.m. April 20. The service will be followed by a candlelight procession to Central Prison, where a vigil will be held until about 2:30 a.m., Friday, April 21. However, participants are welcome to come and go as needed.


Candlelight vigil on the front lawn of the Winston-Salem Friends Meeting at 3151 Reynolda Road, April 20, 4:45 p.m.


too late now

but David Cowan and Liz Roberts are wonderful people who did some things for Patsy. Did you know they don't get Asheville TV there. Atlanta. Talk about an expensive ad buy for the candidate just to reach a small outpost! If you want their phones e-mail me.

Valerie Dixon....Brown's victim.

If one looks on the net, it's difficult to find anything about the woman Mr. Brown murdered. Yet, folks everywhere are concerned about Mr. Brown. Imagine being a young woman working at a convenience store, being robbed, forced into your own car, and taken to a rural area and shot to death. It seems clear Mr. Brown was guilty. He lived another 23 no inconsequential cost to the citizens of this state...while Ms. Dixon lay dead. What would you propose as an appropriate penalty for taking the life of another? What if the slain person was your wife or sister? Would you be protesting Brown's execution? As to his atty's final argument that Brown's death might be painful...oh, woe is me. I suppose the bullets he used to kill Ms. Dixon were painless? North Carolina, contrary to your statement, is exacting a measure of justice for the needless, cruel murder of an innocent person. There is a difference between murder and justice.

Stan Bozarth

Stan, just a couple of quick points

Last night, Dixon's life was beyond saving; Brown's was not.

" no inconsequential cost to the citizens of this state..." It costs considerably more to execute a person than to keep them in jail for life, even with expedited appeals. If cost is your concern, then life in prison is your answer. (PDF source)

"What would you propose as an appropriate penalty for taking the life of another?" Um, jail? Same as for rape, assault, and kidnapping? If you'd prefer a country in which a shoplifter loses a hand, you're on the wrong continent, bucko. Look in to Islamic law.

"What if the slain person was your wife or sister?" We count on the state to be a more rational actor than any single individual, especilly one stricken with grief. Your logic here is a serious problem. Are there any other crimes where you'd like to give the victim control over the punishment of the criminal? Suppose someone isn't paying attention and runs into the back of my car—can I just make up a number and have them pay me what I want? Or does the justice system have a role?

And as to your "oh, woe is me" sarcasm about Dixon's pain, the issue here is constitutional. If you don't like it, see whether you can get 34 states to agree to eliminating the cruel and unusual punishment clause.

I was trying to write something

similar in the wee hours, but my bronchitis/medicinal/lack of sleep - induced stupor didn't allow me to sound lucid or intelligent. (Today's excuse!) Good luck on your exam this morning. You will do beautifully, I'm sure.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


...and simply because I disagree or see some things differently doesn't make me a "bucko."

1. I question that Brown's life was worth saving. He was a killer.

2. After reviewing your referenced source document I refer you to the following copied from page 2 of the report: "8. Prison Costs. The operating cost of a year in prison ranges from $16 thousand per inmate for minimum security to $23 thousand per inmate for close security. Facility costs are about $750 per inmate annually. An inmate who serves ten years on death row and is then executed costs the Department of Corrections $166 thousand less (in present value terms) than an inmate who serves a life term and is paroled after 20 years. 9. Summing Up. The cost of the death penalty depends on the definition." (My view is that it shouldn't take 10-20 years to carry out a death sentence.)

3. Murder, during the commission of a felony or other crime, ought to be punishable by should other heinous crimes. Those who were executed as a result of the Nuremberg war crimes trials, sexual predators, etc. are among those crimes which, in my opinion, fall into that category. I don't recall mentioning chopping off anyone;s hand...and I likely understand Muslim law better than you.

4. My reference to "wife or sister" was intended to convey that it's easier to feel sympathy for a killer when the killer's crime had no impact on your life. I don't recall advocating or even mentioning giving victims control over the punishment of the criminal.

5. "woe is me" was sarcasm. Given the intensity of your feelings on this subject, my views on how worried we should be about "cruel and unusual"punishment for murderers would likely set your hair on fire.

Stan Bozarth

Stan, One Note

In North Carolina, we no longer have parole. So anyone sentenced to life in prison would remain in prison for life.

You'd prefer "buddy?"

  1. Got that.
  2. When you try to shorten the length of the death penalty appeals process, you run up against constitutional due process considerations. You've either got to accept that it takes that long because that's how long it takes, or you've got to come up with a way to speed things up that doesn't infringe on the accused's due process rights or make the system even less accurate.
  3. I take your point here to be that you weren't advocating reciprocity, but simply that some crimes are deserving of death while others are not. Can you express the priniciple which limits the category of crimes to which the death penalty applies? Why not aggrivated assault?
  4. Let's be clear: I don't feel sympathy for the killer. My position on the death penalty has nothing to do with what I would want to happen to me in that situation. (Being white and comfortably middle class, my chances of ever facing the death penalty are pretty slim, anyway.) My point stands: "We count on the state to be a more rational actor than any single individual, especilly one stricken with grief." If a close family member is killed, I plan to have problems thinking clearly on any number of issues, from paying rent to whether to go on living myself. Drafting criminal statutes based on what I (or similarly situated individuals) will think or feel during that time is foolish.
  5. My feelings here aren't that intense—I'm against the death penalty, but it doesn't rate among the issues most important to me—they're just considered and clear. Feel free to advocate cruel and unusual punishment until the cows come home.

Stan, I'm not too sure about my tone here: I just finished a three-hour exam that I forgot to take my power cord to, so I had to hand write it when I'm not accustomed to writing by hand for longer than it takes to sign a credit card receipt. I'm finding it difficult to hold a complete sentence in my brain all at once. Maybe I shouldn't post this, but I've spent so much time now typing it up. I mean no disrespect (beyond the minor and rhetorical disrespect that comes with calling someone "bucko"). For what it's worth, my wife and I completely disagree on this issue, and I still like and respect her a whole lot. I'm enjoying the opportunity to discuss it.

I'm also hoping that TarGator (or someone) will jump in with what I believe the be the winningest argument against the death penalty: the fact that our criminal justice system is known for making mistakes, and it is known for treating black and poor defendants more harshly than others. Someone?

Two words.

Alan Gell.

Stan, ask yourself this. When the day comes, and you stand before your maker, would you be willing to make this argument.

"Look, I know some innocent people probably died because of the death penalty. But, I think that is acceptable if the alternative is the loss of our ability to kill someone when they wrong us."

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

As clear as it gets, Robert.

But being an editor, I am compelled to tighten.

I know innocent people die because of the death penalty, but that's preferable to losing our ability to kill a person for certain crimes.

It is simply a choice about what matters most.

edit away!!! n/t


Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Except your version

is better.


Happy weekend.

Right on, Robert!

Read the play, "The Exonerated." Just google it. You'll read about a whole line-up of innocent people saved from death row.

Last fall, I played the only woman in the play, based on transcripts and interviews with the real people who served real time. My "character's' name was Sunny Jacobs. She was released on a technicality but her husband was fried:

The chair malfunctioned and made a mess of it. And, they had to pull the switch three times. and he didn't die. It took thriteen and a half minutes for Jesse to die. Three jolts of electicity that lasted fifty-five second each. Almost a minue Each. Until finally flames shot out ffrom his head, an smoke came from his ears, and the people taht came to see the execution, on behalf of the press, are still writing about it. Then years afterwards.

That wasn't written by the playwrights. Those are Sunny Jacobs exact words. I still remember the audience's reaction when I spoke them. It took me weeks to be able to say them either publicly or privately without crying.

The Hickory production was 7 shows for about $2,000. We had guests like Mark Kleinschmidt afterwards to discuss the issues. Anyone wants to produce it, I'll help.

I'm just going to say you're right...

and I'm sorry you had to write your exam by hand. I'm sure you did beautifully.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I will make the argument

Our justice system is unfair to those that are poor and disenfranchised. Society, especially in the South, has made attempts to ensure that minorities are those that are poor.

Also, there is a not inconsequential error rate in our system.

Now with that said, I avoid these arguments, because to me, it is irrelevant. Even in a fair system, even with a 100% guilty criminal, I would not favor the death penalty as a punishment.

Revenge does not equal Justice


Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Have your heard that "eye for an eye"

was said in response to people who were overreacting. That and eye for an eye, instead of a life for an eye. A hand for stealing instead of a life for stealing. It was a limitation because people were raking revenge too far. So, wouldn't it be more Christian to take less than an eye for an eye? Not that I'm against prevention. Jail these people. Jail murders and rapists and theives who bilk people of millions. But to kill them when they're probably mentally ill. To "kill people to show that killing is wrong." To jail people for drug possession. What are we doing?

(Done preachin' for the day)

Stan, No one said "murder"

But it was the state killing in my name. Since I do not agree with that, I protest. Since you think it is okay, fine with me.

Willie Brown was not a man the engendered sympathy. But to me, it does not matter. I am against the death penalty no matter who were to be executed. Through life imprisonment, we can ensure that someone will never be a threat to society again. So I do not see the benefit in execution, but I do see a number of costs to us as a society.

I appear to stand alone in this matter...

and that's OK with me. I respect the views of you who oppose the death penalty. My wife's parents live near Burgaw where there is a prison. When we drive by, on any given day, the prisoners are out in the yard sun-tanning and relaxing. True, their view of the countryside is obscured by two rows of razor wire atop a chain-link fence...but they are eating three squares a day, getting medical and dental care, all at the expense of the NC taxpayers. Their victims, raped women, people swindled out of their savings, folks robbed of their possessions, people lying moldy in their graves, children beaten into unconsciousness, certainly enjoy no such privileges. In my view, prison inmates should be put to hard labor each day. They should not be abused, but they should repay their debt to their victims and society by being forced to work their asses off every day of their sentence. No TV, no recreation, no air conditioning, and no parole. Chains on their ankles and a shotgun in their face. Our government has determined what crimes are punishable by the death penalty. I don't always agree with our government (certainly not the current administration). And, I agree that every possible step should be taken to ensure a just verdict...and that an innocent person is not being punished. That having been said, there are some pretty clear cut cases...the DC snipers, the guy in OKC who murdered and cannibalized a 10 year old girl, the Green River Killer, and others. I ask those of you who oppose the death penalty: why should we pay to incarcerate and care for these worthless scum-bags for the rest of their lives? So that you can say the state didn't commit murder in your names? Puhleeeese...spare me! Willie Brown...the original subject of this protracted discussion, was a dirt-bag. How he came to be a dirt-bag is another matter. He senselessly murderered another human being. He was caught driving her car after he killed her. No excuses justify his behavior. Poor Willie...after 23 years of incarceration. free meals, free legal support, etc., and huge expense to the taxpayer, he finally got his punishment. Good riddance to a hemrrhoid on the behind of society. By the way..."Bucko" is not defined as "buddy." My name is Stan. I have been addressed as Captain, Sir, Mr. and Dad. I prefer Stan from my friends...and I try to count as friends even those I disagree with on various subjects. Like you, I think there are more important subjects than this... Regardless, disagreement and discussion often leads to long as the discussion is not obscured by name calling, etc. I hope your exam went well for you.

Stan Bozarth

Thanks, Stan

I'll lay off on the "bucko" stuff.

Making peace

I like this. And it gives me pause. Perhaps a post about name calling is in order.


if you care to, I have a thought on prison reform I would love to run by you. I think of it as middle ground, I'd be interested in your take.

robertp AT ourspectrum DOT com

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.