Light 'Em Up

The Death Penalty: Justice & Deterrence or Flawed & the Fruit of a Long Racist Past? A Detailed Look at the Troubling Case of Oklahoma v Julius Jones.

December 03, 2021 Phillip Rizzo Season 2 Episode 18
Light 'Em Up
The Death Penalty: Justice & Deterrence or Flawed & the Fruit of a Long Racist Past? A Detailed Look at the Troubling Case of Oklahoma v Julius Jones.
Show Notes

As we reach yet another milestone -- broadcasting in 82 countries -- we close our 2nd season – another fantastic year of investigative journalism. The truth is hidden; it must be pursued! We delivered a record 18 episodes in this calendar year!
In this episode of Light ‘Em Up we focus on The Julius Jones case, race and the death penalty, and its application in the U.S.  We examine the glaring errors that infected this case from its inception.  

We investigate the true fact pattern, unpacking the background, case specifics and share 7 grounds on which Julius Jones’ case not only cried out for clemency but also demands that the decision be reversed and Mr. Jones be freed.

In 1999, Julius Jones was convicted of murdering a white businessman.  Although he had an alibi, he was convicted and languished on death row for >20 years.

The U.S. ranks 5th worldwide for the number of executions.  “It’s devastating to have the United States [be] the only Western developed country that executes people — and the only country in the Americas to do so,” Ivan Simonovic, the U.N.’s assistant secretary-general for human rights, stated in a recent interview with Al Jazeera to which we were granted exclusive access.

We feel that it is crucial to shine a light on and to analyze the representation that a defendant received at trial, on appeal, and in sentencing and any other post-conviction proceedings, especially for those facing execution. There is no “do over” with an execution. In this country race has always mattered ... and will always matter.
The death penalty in America is very expensive policy to pursue, it is defined by bias and error and thus fatally flawed, its application is racist.  It targets the most vulnerable people in society (especially the mentally ill) and helps to further corrupt the integrity of our criminal justice system. 
Defendants continue to be convicted and sentenced to death based on such arbitrary factors as: 
🧨their socioeconomic status & that of the victim
🧨their race & the race of the victim
🧨where the crime occurred
🧨the poor quality of their counsel
Know these facts to be true: 
🧨 Defendants convicted of killing white victims were 17 times more likely to be executed than those convicted of killing Black victims.
🧨 Earlier in the 20th century when it was applied for rape, 89% of executions involved black defendants, most for the alleged rape of a white woman.  Since executions have been carried out exclusively for murder, 75% of cases involve the murder of white victims, even though blacks and whites are about equally likely to be victims of murder.

Ella Baker, the civil rights and human rights activist once said, “Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.”  

The death penalty debate boils down to these 3 questions: What is the purpose of capital punishment?  To kill with clinical efficiency so as to give victims and their loved ones some sense of justice and closure?  Or to make the condemned suffer, in the final pursuit of seeking revenge, an eye for an eye?

We’d like for you to consider these questions and respond.

Do you think the death penalty should be abolished? Does it make us safer?  Is it cruel and unusual punishment?

As we close out this season, we want to express our most sincere & humble appreciation to every listener who has taken time from your busy schedule to be part of our listener family.

The truth is powerful, and the truth is under attack.

We push forward – always forward; never backward!

Justice comes to those that fight … not those that cry!
Thank you!  Peace be with you in 2022!

Executive Producer
Phil Rizzo