71 episodes

Examining issues in the death penalty system. Brought to you by the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment.

Discussions With DPIC Death Penalty Information Center

    • News

Examining issues in the death penalty system. Brought to you by the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment.

    The DPIC 2019 Year End Report

    The DPIC 2019 Year End Report

    In the December 2019 edition of the Discussions with DPIC podcast, Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham and Managing Director Anne Holsinger discuss DPIC’s 2019 Year End Report. The podcast explores the major themes presented in the year’s death-penalty news and developments, including innocence, declining use of capital punishment, and systemic problems revealed by the new death sentences and executions in 2019.

    • 46 min
    “Unrequited Innocence” with Rob Warden and John Seasly

    “Unrequited Innocence” with Rob Warden and John Seasly

    Rob Warden and John Seasly speak with Anne Holsinger about their law review article and profile series, “Unrequited Innocence,” which examine death-penalty cases in which prisoners have not been exonerated, despite strong evidence of innocence. Warden, the Executive Director Emeritus of the Center on Wrongful Convictions and a co-founder of both the National Registry of Exonerations and Injustice Watch, and Seasly, a reporter at Injustice Watch, profiled 24 cases involving 25 defendants with “compelling evidence of innocence.” In the podcast, they discuss why they chose to focus on unredressed wrongful convictions, the patterns and themes that emerged in their research, and the remedies that they recommend. Warden and Seasly also address the pernicious impact of false jailhouse informant testimony, the error rate in death-penalty cases, and prosecutors' use of coercive plea deals that permit innocent prisoners to gain their freedom but deny them exoneration and compensation for their years wrongfully incarcerated on death row.

    • 19 min
    Junk Science and Wrongful Convictions: James Rytting Discusses the Case of Larry Swearingen

    Junk Science and Wrongful Convictions: James Rytting Discusses the Case of Larry Swearingen

    James Rytting, an attorney who represented Texas prisoner Larry Swearingen, describes the junk science used to convict his client. Swearingen was executed on August 21, 2019, after multiple courts declined to consider new evidence that revealed flaws in the forensic evidence presented at trial. Rytting also explains how Swearingen's case highlights flaws that contribute to wrongful convictions throughout the criminal justice system: unscientific analysis of forensic evidence, lack of scientific training for lawyers and judges, and an appellate system that values finality over fairness.

    • 25 min
    Interview with Clemency filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu

    Interview with Clemency filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu

    Writer/director Chinonye Chukwu speaks with DPIC Senior Director of Research and Special Projects Ngozi Ndulue about her award-winning new film, Clemency. Chukwu discusses her inspiration for the story, the years-long process of research and immersion that helped her shape the narrative, and her hopes for how this film will be received.
    Clemency stars Alfre Woodard as death-row prison warden Bernadine Williams and Aldis Hodge as death-row prisoner Anthony Woods. The film focuses on Bernadine, Chukwu explains, and “navigates her emotional and psychological down spiral as she prepares to execute … Woods.” Clemency won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Drama at the Sundance Film Festival in February 2019, the first time the award has been given to a movie directed by an African-American woman.

    • 23 min
    Rep. Renny Cushing on Empowering Crime Survivors and Repealing New Hampshire's Death Penalty

    Rep. Renny Cushing on Empowering Crime Survivors and Repealing New Hampshire's Death Penalty

    In the latest episode of Discussions with DPIC, New Hampshire State Representative Renny Cushing talks with DPIC Executive Director Robert Dunham about the life-altering experience of having a close family member murdered and his journey from being a murder-family survivor to spearheading New Hampshire’s recent repeal of the death penalty. Cushing—whose father and brother-in-law were killed in separate incidents—discusses his ongoing efforts to empower crime survivors and his role working to bring together a broad coalition of people from across the political spectrum and with a variety of life experiences to find common ground in their opposition to capital punishment.

    • 31 min
    Interview with Trial By Fire Director Edward Zwick

    Interview with Trial By Fire Director Edward Zwick

    Emmy- and Oscar-winner Edward Zwick speaks about his latest film, Trial By Fire, in the latest episode of Discussions with DPIC. Zwick produced and directed Trial By Fire, which tells the story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was convicted and sentence to death in 1992 for the alleged arson homicide of his three children. Arson investigators who testified against him used flawed methods, and a jailhouse informant received undisclosed incentives from prosecutors in exchange for his testimony that Willingham had confessed to him, but Willingham was executed in 2004. Willingham’s case featured what Zwick called a “catalog” of problems: “it had the withholding of exculpatory evidence, it had junk science, it had jailhouse snitches who would testify in exchange for reduced sentences, [and] it had a piss-poor public defender.” In an interview with DPIC’s Anne Holsinger, Zwick describes why he decided to tell Willingham’s story, what he learned from the experience, and how he hopes the film will affect audiences. Trial By Fire opens on May 17, 2019.

    • 14 min

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