Feb. 1: Victim statements in death penalty cases examined

By Beverly Makhani, Undergraduate Education

just-mercyPULLMAN, Wash. – The impact on death penalty trials of victim’s statements about how they’ve been affected will be discussed in a free, public common reading talk at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, in Smith CUE 203, Washington State University.

“In the United States, a death sentence requires more than a conviction,” said speaker Todd Butler chair of the WSU English department. “Either a jury or a judge must also weigh separately the presence of aggravating factors to the crime, a process which in most states allows victims the opportunity to make what are often emotion-filled statements regarding the impact of a particular crime upon family, friends and society.”

The presentation is tied to topics featured in WSU’s common reading book (http://commonreading.wsu.edu) for first-year and other students, “Just Mercy,” by Bryan Stevenson. The book is used throughout the academic year in classes and university programming.

Butler’s areas of research and publication include early modern literature, religion, political theory, early modern crime and law.