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Wrongful Convictions & the Death Penalty #md

January 15, 2013

“Done by the State in Our Name” was the sermon title this last Sunday. Besides the short sermon by Rev. Natalie Fenimore, we also had 3 guest speakers on the topic of the Death Penalty. Her statement in our newsletter was, “As the State of Maryland considers ending the Death Penalty there are many issues to think about: Racial disparity, crime prevention, wrongful conviction, cruel and unusual punishment. Can we allow the state to kill in our name?”

Van Caldwell, who introduced himself as a lawyer who started out representing underprivileged people in Tennessee, showed us a video (on VHS, not available online) from the Center on Wrongful Convictions. There were many testimonies by people who were found falsely convicted. Van said that most of the time it has been based on the race of the person who was the victim (when a white person is the victim, the person who is convicted is more often sentenced to the death penalty, than when a person of another race or ethnicity is the victim). The video was similar to this one on YouTube and seems to contain some of the same content.

Andrea Hall, who’s a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, came as a volunteer for the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland and Maryland CASE to tell us about the legislation to repeal the death penalty in Maryland. She provided us with bumper stickers and materials to write postcards and a thank you note to legislators.

Mac Goekler also spoke to us about his conviction to end the death penalty.

Andrea Hall VanCaldwell MacGoekler

Upcoming event: Parlor Chat at the Dowling’s in Brandywine – Topic: “Talking vs. Doing” – In this new year, since talk is cheap, what social issue would motivate you to take action and why? This will be moderated to give everyone an equal chance to be heard. Sat., Jan. 19 7:30 PM. For more information about Parlor Chat, call 301-782-9922.

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