The Oberlin Review

Fair Executions Impossible to Achieve

Josh Ashkinaze, Columnist

September 18, 2015

At the end of his inspiring Convocation talk, Brian Stevenson was asked, “Are there people who deserve to die?” And he answered something like, “Personally, I do not think so.” We are not our worst action. But it wouldn’t matter if there were people who deserve to die. Does the criminal justice system — with all of its known faults and errors — really deserve to kill people? This is the moral paradox of killing criminals: Even if you believe some people deserve to die, who deserves to kill? 140 countries have banned state-sponsored capital punishment. Many people, myself included, are uncomfortable with the U.S. government exercising the death penalty. But there is another history of capital punis...

Representative Media Coverage Requires Voices of Citizen Journalists

Editorial Board

December 5, 2014

Hours after a Staten Island grand jury announced Wednesday that a white NYPD officer would not be indicted in the death of Eric Garner, a black father of six who stopped breathing while held in a banned chokehold, The Huffington Post published a headline that stood out in the media frenzy: “A Grand Jury Did Indict One Person Involved In Eric Garner’s Killing — The Man Who Filmed It.” More surprising than the news of another non-indictment of a white police officer accused of killing an unarmed black man is the rarity of this type of media angle. In the cases of John Crawford in Beavercreek, Ohio, Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and now Eric Garner in New York City, corporate-backed national media outlets have...

Emergency Declaration in Missouri Premature, Discourages Structural Change

Editorial Board

November 21, 2014

In anticipation of the announcement by prosecutors of whether a grand jury will file charges against Darren Wilson — the Ferguson, MO police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in August — Missouri Governor Jay Nixon stoked the flames of a virulent disconnect between government officials and black residents in greater St. Louis by declaring a state of emergency Monday. Nixon, a second-term Democrat, authorized National Guard troops to assist a coalition of three police agencies in controlling expected demonstrations following the announcement, sending a stark message to the nonviolent organizers: You are our enemy. Nixon’s misguided action worsens a pervasive lack of effective leadership at a...

Innocent Man Speaks on Criminal Justice System

Joseph Dilworth, Staff Writer

November 11, 2011

Joseph D’Ambrosio spent more than 21 years awaiting death in a jail cell the size of a bathroom for a crime that he did not commit. D’Ambrosio and Reverend Neil Kookoothe spoke to an audience at First Church on Wednesday night about life, faith and a criminal justice system intent on killing the people it is supposed to protect. D’Ambrosio was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1989. He had no prior criminal record and had recently been honorably discharged following four years of service with the armed forces. After rejecting a deal that would require him to testify against his co-defendant and serve a minimum of 10 years in prison, D’Ambrosio was put on trial and convicted in just two and three-quarter...

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