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(Aussie) Law graduate to loosen US 'death belt'

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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 08:42 AM
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(Aussie) Law graduate to loosen US 'death belt'
Source: The Age

Lucy Larkins is going to Louisiana to work for the welfare of mentally ill prisoners.

WITHIN months of finishing her Melbourne University law course, Lucy Larkins was at Mississippi State Penitentiary's death row. The man she was visiting was wearing the trademark red jumpsuit of an inmate with a death sentence. Shackled hand and foot, with his ankle chains bolted to the ground, he was separated from visitors by a pane of glass, and had to answer questions about his welfare over the phone.

It was early 2006 and Ms Larkins, then a 23-year-old law graduate, was on a four-month internship with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Centre, a not-for-profit law firm representing people facing the death penalty in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. She had made the six-hour night drive to Mississippi in the firm's battered old Honda Accord.

Ms Larkins was visiting Howard Neal, who had been on death row since before she was born. Found guilty in 1982 of the murders of his niece and half-brother, Neal had a mental age of eight. No forensic or eyewitness evidence linked him to the crime.

He had been convicted solely on the basis of his own confession, allegedly extracted after two days of police questioning, with no lawyer present. Last year a court finally declared Neal mentally retarded and resentenced him to life imprisonment.

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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 09:51 AM
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1. This is bad ... we can't even get American progressives into Lose-ianna
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