The Champion

November 2009 , Page 5 

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The Time has Come to End the Death Penalty (From the President)

By Cynthia Hujar Orr

Read more President's Column columns.

William Freeman killed Henry Seward’s best friend and the friend’s family. Having just been released from prison for a crime he did not commit, William was deaf and mad from beatings. Showing no remorse, laughing uncontrollably, and admitting his guilt, he stumbled out of the home with the knives he used. He was arrested and taken to jail just ahead of a murderous neighborhood mob. Frightened by the mob and stricken with grief, Henry’s wife told him about the tragedy.

Henry and his wife attended court the next day, observing that no lawyer would take William’s case. So Henry stood up, and with strong emotion in his voice, accepted the representation of William, a Black man.

Henry railed against the hatred that drove the case. He condemned the blatant racial animus thick throughout the proceedings. While he was certain that the jury would impose death, he was incensed because his client was insane and would have been institutionalized if he were only white. He told the jurors that he was

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