Books and Articles

By And About SCHR Staff

The Death Penalty

  To read publications by Stephen B. Bright, click here. 
  The Death Penalty Roundtable: Power over Life and Death
8 pages. The Champion asked four death penalty experts to share their thoughts on the past and future of capital punishment. We appreciate their willingness to participate in our discussion and provide insights into the challenges facing attorneys who represent clients in capital cases. Our panelists are Stephen B. Bright, the president and senior counsel for the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia; Kathryn M. Kase, the managing attorney in the Houston office of the Texas Defender Service; Gregory J. Kuykendall, a Life Member of NACDL and the director of the Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program in Tucson, Arizona; and Christina Swarns, the director of the Criminal Justice Project of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., in New York City.
  Human Side of Death Penalty Defense
by Terrica Redfield, Southern Center for Human Rights, Atlanta Lawyer, November 2008.
 

The Right to Counsel / Indigent Defense

  To read publications by Stephen B. Bright, click here. 

Fulfilling Promises: Celebrating the First Decade of Georgia’s Public Defender System

by Sara J. Totonchi, Southern Center for Human Rights, The Georgia Bar Journal, June 2016.

  Challenging Banishment of Registered Sex Offenders From the State of Georgia
Sarah Geraghty, Challenging the Banishment of Registered Sex Offenders From the State of Georgia, 42 HARV. C.R.-C.L. L. REV. 513 (2007)
"If you cannot afford a lawyer ...": A report on Georgia's failed indigent defense system.

This report supplements our November 2000 report, Promises to Keep (see below), and adds to the growing body of information collected by the Chief Justice's Commission on Indigent Defense, the media, a consulting group, and other sources about the distance between the representation required to have a just and reliable adversary system, and the representation actually provided.

by the Southern Center for Human Rights - 69 pages
January 2003
Promises to Keep: Achieving Fairness and Equal Justice for the Poor in Criminal Cases
A preliminary report on Georgia's compliance with the Constitutions of Georgia and the United States in providing representation to poor people accused of crimes.

by the Southern Center for Human Rights - 22 pages
November 2000
Death in Texas
by Stephen B. Bright, Southern Center for Human Rights - The Champion, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, July, 1999
 

Juvenile Justice

  Kids don't belong in the Adult Court System:Safety, rehabilitation must be core missions
by Sara Totonchi, the Southern Center for Human Rights, Atlanta Journal Consitution, Wednesday, June 25, 2008. @issue section.
An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Delinquency Proceedings
by the American Bar Association and the Southern Center for Human Rights - 57 pages
July 2001
Capital Punishment on the 25th Anniversary of Furman v. Georgia
by Southern Center for Human Rights - 35 pages
A Preference for Vengeance: The death penalty and the treatment of prisoners in Georgia
by Southern Center for Human Rights - 26 pages
June 1996

 

The Center’s work is the subject of two books:

Proximity to Death by Pulitzer-Prize winning historian William S. McFeely

Finding Life on Death Row
by Katya Lezin.

The Death Penalty

  • Hugo Adam Bedau, ed., The Death Penalty in America (Oxford U. Press 1997) (includes sections on law of capital punishment, deterrence and incapacitation, race and class issues)
  • W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Lynching in the New South (U. Illinois Press 1993) (a history of racial violence in Georgia and Virginia in the twentieth century)
  • Dan Carter, Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South (LSU Press, revised edition, 1991) (description of the famous "Scottsboro boys case" where nine African American youths were charged with rape of two white women)
  • Nick Davies, White Lies: Rape, Murder and Justice Texas Style (Pantheon Books 1991) (death of teenage cheerleader leads to conviction and death sentencing of Clarence Brantley, a black school janitor; book describes the process of unraveling the lies, deceptions, and racism underlying that conviction)
  • David R. Dow & Mark Dow, editors,Machinery of Death: The Reality of America's Death Penalty Regime (with aforeword by Christopher Hitchens) (Routledge, 2002, $17.95) (a collection of essays and interviews from lawyers, wardens, victims' families, executioners and inmates which show how America's death penalty system actually works, including an essay by Center director Stephen Bright that argues that the death penalty is a direct descendant of lynching, other forms of racial violence and racial oppression, a transcript of the execution of Ivon Ray Stanley, and a chapter by Bud Welch, the father of a victim of Timothy McVeigh, on how he came to oppose the death penalty).
  • David Von Drehle, Among the Lowest of the Dead (Random House 1995) (a history of Florida's implementation of the capital punishment statute it adopted in 1973)
  • Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying (Knopf1993) (novel about race, death and identity set in Louisiana in the 1940's)
  • David Garland, Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition (Harvard University Press 2010) (an analysis of the continued existence of the death penalty in the United States despite its abolition in the rest of the Western world, its uneven application, its many delays, and the uncertainty of its ever being carried out in particular cases; Garland attributes America’s divergence from the rest of the West to its radical federalism and local democracy, as well as its legacy of violence and racism)  Justice John Paul Stevens reviewed the book in the New York Review of Books.
  • Mikal Gilmore, Shot in the Heart (Doubleday1993) (the brother of Gary Gilmore, executed in Utah in 1977, describes their family life and other forces that may have contributed to Gary Gilmore's antisocial behavior)
  • James Goodman, Stories of Scottsboro (Pantheon Books 1994) (an excellent account of the case of the "Scottsboro boys")
  • Craig Haney, Death by Design: Capital Punishment as a Social Psychological System (Oxford 2005) (an exploration of how social and psychological forces built into the capital sentencing process distances and disengages jurors from the true nature of taking the life of another human being and enables them to engage in behavior from which they would otherwise refrain)
  • Katya Lezin, Finding Life on Death Row (Northeastern University Press 1999) (foreword by Center Director Stephen B. Bright) (descriptions of the cases of six death row inmates represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights).
  • William S. McFeely, Proximity to Death (Norton 1999) (a historian's personal account of his involvement in a capital case and his observations about capital punishment and the work of the Southern Center for Human Rights).
  • David M. Oshinsky, Worse than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice (Free Press 1996) (an excellent history of how the criminal justice system was used in Mississippi and throughout the South after the Civil War to maintain white supremacy through convict leasing and huge plantation prisons such as Parchman Farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary)
  • Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking (Random House1993) (a nun describes what she learned about the death penalty while counseling people on death row in Louisiana)
  • Richard Wright, Native Son (Harper & Brothers 1940) (paperback by HarperPerennial 1993) (classic novel about race, murder and capital punishment)

Prisons and Jails

  • David M. Oshinsky, Worse than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice (Free Press 1996) (an excellent history of how the criminal justice system was used in Mississippi and throughout the South after the Civil War to maintain white supremacy through convict leasing and huge plantation prisons such as Parchman Farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary)
  • Ira Robbins, Prisoners in the Law (Clark Boardman, 1986 & revised thereafter)
  • Craig Haney, Reforming Punishment: Psychological Limits to the Pains of Imprisonment (Am. Psychological Assn. 2006) (an examination of how prison policies are doing real harm to many prisoners and increasing crime because they do not take into account the social, contextual causes of crime and minimize the harmful effects of imprisonment)
  • Robert Perkinson, Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire (a history of the severity of imprisonment in Texas: from slavery to convict leasing to plantation prisons to supermax isolation to mandatory sentencing to prison privatization and assembly-line executions, and a description of how a penal system once dismissed as barbaric became a example for the nation)
  • Wilbert Rideau, In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance (Knopf 2010) (Rideau, condemned to death by three different juries, describes his 44 years in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola where he was the editor of the prison’s award-winning magazine, The Angolite, which became an uncensored, honest, and crusading journal that reported on the violent and corrupt prison; how he found meaning, purpose and hope in one of America’s worst prisons; and how his perseverance, good work and friendships brought him to a new trial and release in 2005)

Private Prisons

Indigent Defense

  • Anthony Lewis, Gideon's Trumpet (Random House 1964) (about the indigent man in Florida who was convicted of burglary and sentenced to prison after a trial where he was not granted his request for an appointed lawyer who wrote his own cert petition and got the Supreme Court to recognize the right to appointed counsel)
  • Right to Counsel Committee of the Constitution Project and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, Justice Denied: America’s Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel,  found that “inadequate financial support continues to be the single greatest obstacle to delivering ‘competent’ and ‘diligent’ defense representation” to poor people accused of crimes and that “the most visible sign of inadequate funding is attorneys attempting to provide defense services while carrying astonishingly large caseloads.”  It describes the situation for many public defenders.

Racial Discrimination

  • Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New Press 2010) (an explanation of how the criminal justice system through the “war on drugs” and other means serves as a contemporary system of racial control and has led to mass incarceration)
  • Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (Doubleday 2008) (a Pulitzer Prize winning account of the brutal history of convict leasing in Alabama in which thousands of African Americans were arrested on petty crimes like “loitering” and leased to mines, lumber camps, quarries, farms and factories, which perpetuated slavery after the Civil War, intimidated blacks from political participation, and maintained white supremacy).
  • Dan Carter, Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South (LSU Press, revised edition, 2007) (a account of the case of the “Scottsboro Boys” in which nine African American youths were charged with rape of two white women and tried before all-white, all-male juries in the midst of public hysteria and racial prejudice; their convictions and death sentence were twice overturned by the United States Supreme Court:  in Powell v. Alabama, for denial of counsel at their first trials and in Norris v. Alabama, for racial discrimination in the composition of the jury pools)
  • Mark Curriden & Leroy Phillips, Jr., Contempt of Court: The Turn-of-the-Century Lynching that Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism (Faber & Faber 1999) (an account of the wrongful conviction of Ed Johnson, a black man, in Chattanooga in 1906 for the rape of a white woman and his heroic representation by two black lawyers, Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins, who were practicing in Chattanooga.  Parden took a train to Washington and obtained a stay of execution from Justice John Marshall Harlan.  In response, a mob, outraged by the “federal interference” broke into the jail and took Johnson from his cell and lynched him.  Parden and Hutchins left Chattanooga and never returned.  The U. S. Supreme Court found the sheriff, his deputies and members of the lynch mob in contempt of court, but they were not punished severely.
  • Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America (Palgrave MacMillan 2010) (an account of the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates in front of his own home for disorderly conduct by a white police officer (the charges were dismissed four days later) and an examination the incident as a lesson on the abuse of power by police and law enforcement’s systemic suspicions about black men)
  • Charles Ogletree Jr. and Austin Sarat, eds, From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race and the Death Penalty in America (NYU Press 2006) (chapters on race and the culture, politics and process of capital punishment by Professors Ogletree and Sarat as well as Stuart Banner, Stephen B. Bright, Benjamin Fleury-Steiner, Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn, Mona Lynch, Glenn L. Pierce and Michael Radelet).
  • David M. Oshinsky, Worse than Slavery:  Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice (Free Press 1996) (an excellent history of how the criminal justice system was used in Mississippi and throughout the South after the Civil War to maintain white supremacy through convict leasing and huge plantation prisons such as Parchman Farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary)