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I Was Almost Executed For A Crime I Didn’t Commit: West Memphis Three


Watch This Teen Illegally Climb Egypt's Great Pyramid

A German tourist illegally scaled Egypt's great pyramid of Giza, in broad daylight. Armed with a Go-Pro 18-year-old Andrej Ciesielski climbed nearly 500 feet to the top of the pyramid. Climbing the pyramid comes at a steep cost, a possible three year jail sentence if convicted. About halfway up he was spotted by Egyptian police. When he descended the pyramid he was taken into custody. Authorities made him delete his photos but they were unaware he could recover the files.

The Modern Invention of the Medieval Executioner

JOEL HARRINGTON: The Modern Invention of the Medieval Executioner

We all know the hooded, ominous figure of the medieval hangman, but in fact that image owes much more to nineteenth-century imaginations than to any historical reality. After a brief description of a real sixteenth-century German executioner, based on his personal journal of forty-five years, this lecture will explore the legal, artistic, and literary origins of one of the modern age's most recognizable stereotypes, as well as how this has helped distort our common understanding of the European Middle Ages. This lecture will explore this topic as told in part in Harrington’s most recent book, The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Sixteenth Century (Picador, 2014).

Joel F. Harrington is Centennial Professor and Chair of the Department of History. He as published widely on various topics in social, legal, and religious history, particularly dealing with Germany during the early modern era (ca. 1450-1750). Projects currently underway include a study of the late medieval mystic Meister Eckhart and a comparison of the early modern prosecution of infanticide and witchcraft. Professor Harrington has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses at Vanderbilt since his arrival in 1989, including the history of Christian traditions, Reformation Europe, religion and the occult in early modern Europe, and early modern social history. From 2004-2011 he served as Vanderbilt's first senior international officer (Associate Provost for Global Strategy), a full-time administrative position, and before that, from 2000-2004, he was Director of the Center for European Studies.

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Innocent on death row: How I survived 18 years | Damien Echols | Big Think

Innocent on death row: How I survived 18 years
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Damien Echols was a member of the West Memphis Three, a group of young men who were wrongfully convicted of murdering three children. He served nearly 20 years on death row before being exonerated and released. Some have described his plight as exploitative, in that the case became a media circus first and a murder case second. While in prison, he practiced High Magick, a form of theurgical ceremonies and rituals, much in the tradition of Eastern spirituality, but retooled for the Western psyche. He credits it with helping him survive 18 years on death row.

Damien Echols is the author of the New York Times bestseller Life After Death (Plume, 2013), and his new book, HIGH MAGICK: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row. He lives with his wife, Lorri, in Harlem.

Damien Echols: The true crime stuff I think it has good points and bad points; Good points because it is literally saving people's lives. When you're talking about cases where you have innocent people sentenced to death, you have innocent people doing life without parole, and it happens way more often than people have any idea. A guy named Bryan Stevenson who works with the Southern Poverty Law Center, I was talking to him one time and he said that they now estimate that maybe as many as one out of every ten people executed are innocent. Now if one out of every ten planes crashed nobody would fly anymore. Everybody would demand that something be done before they got on another plane. But most people don't know anyone and they're not connected in any way to the death penalty. So it's sort of just being swept under the rug in a lot of ways.

So the true crime stuff is bringing stuff like that into mainstream attention. It's saving people's lives. On the other hand you have the other stuff, the really tawdry—and I can't think of a case right off the top of my head—but just people like to sort of wallow in the darkness of humanity a little bit. Say people who want to read stuff about Richard Ramirez, the night stalker guy, stuff like that. That sort of goes the other route. I think whatever you focus on is going to sort of dictate the direction that your life moves. If you focus on things that inspire you, that uplift you, that raise you up, you're going to be a happier person. If you're focusing more on the basest, just bottom dregs of human activity then you're probably not going to be a very happy person. It's going to manifest in depression and despair and things like that.

So I see the good points of true crime and I see the bad points of true crime. For me personally I tend to stay away from it. I honestly have not even seen the Paradise Lost documentaries. I tried to watch them, I made it through 15 to 20 minutes of the first one, and I could understand why it had such a big impact on people because when I was watching it, it felt like being in the courtroom. It was like experiencing it again. And, for me, that was the last thing in the world that I wanted. That was—it ate up 20 years of my life, so the last thing I wanted to do was go back there. At the same time I'm grateful that so many other people did watch it and were affected by it and came to our aid, because it saved my life. But that doesn't mean I want to watch it.

The hardest parts of being in prison, the worst parts to deal with were just the sheer brutality of it. You know, there were times when I was beaten so bad that I started to piss blood. They're not going to spend a lot of time and money and energy taking care of someone they plan on killing. So it's not like you're going to see a real doctor or a real dentist. At one point I'd been hit in the face so many times by prison guards that it had caused a lot of nerve damage in my teeth, so I was in horrendous pain. Your choices are: live in pain, or let them pull your teeth out. I didn't want them to pull my teeth out, so I had to find techniques that would allow me to cope with the physical pain. That was probably the biggest thing that kept pushing me forward to learn more and more and more about magick, because I had to find ways just to survive.

Magick, spelled with a K at the end, M – A – G – I – C – K, the reason it has a K is to differentiate it from sleight of hand, you know, sawing assistants in half, pulling rabbits out of a hat, things like that. The entire point of high magick it is...

For the full transcript, check out

Leon J. Sinoff - How Innocent People are Convicted in the American Justice System

Eighty years of experience has proven that the esteemed Judge Learned Hand was dead wrong! Innocent people can and do get convicted in the American criminal justice system, and are convicted at alarming rates. The Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to documenting and reversing wrongful convictions, has documented 305 exonerations of innocent individuals in courts around the country -- but this is just the teeny tip of a gargantuan iceberg. These exonerated individuals served many years -- and often decades -- of wrongful imprisonment. Innocent individuals continue to be held in Ohio prisons at this very moment.

How is it that we, a society of brain surgery, iPhones, and spacecrafts to Mars, continue to suffer catastrophic failures in our criminal justice system? How is it that our elaborate procedures designed to catch the right perpetrator: trained police investigators, forensic science, and a legal system with constitutional rights...juries...trials...appeals...can fail? Can anyone really still be innocent if they are convicted by a jury and lose numerous appeals? I expect humanists will see themes from other facets of life at work: a lack of scientific and logical rigor, emotions overriding reason, groupthink, and cognitive biases

Sin: What's Really Wrong with the World: Part 4

Sin: What's Really Wrong with the World: Part 4

COINTELPRO 2020: How the FBI continues to disrupt the fight for racial justice

In the past two years, a series of documents came to light that exposed how the FBI had created a discriminatory and bogus “Black Identity Extremist” (BIE) designation in order to label racial-justice advocates a threat and spy on their activities.

While the Bureau now claims that it’s no longer using the BIE label, it appears to have simply renamed this category and is continuing to use FBI resources to spy on and investigate Black activists.

Watch as a panel sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D–California) convenes on Capitol Hill to discuss what policymakers need to know about this ongoing threat to the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Black activists. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minnesota) delivered remarks.

• Myaisha Hayes, MediaJustice 
• Gerardo Romo, ACLU Racial Justice Program
• Keedran Franklin, Coalition of Concerned Citizens
• Alice Speri, The Intercept
• Sandra Fulton, (Moderator) Free Press Action

Learn more about our work to fight racist surveillance and protect the right to privacy at

Ezekiel Edwards - Ending Mass Incarceration: Fixing a broken and racially biased system

The ACLU's Greater Philadelphia Chapter Annual Meeting featured a keynote speech from Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU's Criminal Law Reform Project.

Miko Peled: The General's Son - Geneva

Justice vs. the Law

Dennis Riordan, Colgate Class of '70, is known in legal circles as a convict's last hope. California Lawyer magazine called him the best criminal appellate attorney around. Riordan has made a career of winning controversial cases where public outrage or political pressure overwhelmed the cause of justice. This Q&A session will examine his approach to the law, as well as the challenge of defending clients such as Black Panther, Johnny Spain, the West Memphis 3, and Phil Spector.

22nd Annual Rose Sheinberg Lecture

November 3, 2015
#Say Her Name: Racial Profiling and Police Violence Against Black Women

Andrea Ritchie, Streetwise & Safe

Sacred Trust Talks 2014 - Stephen Davis

What the Yankees Did to Us Sherman's Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta

During the Civil War, Atlanta was wrecked, but not by burning alone. Longtime Atlantan Stephen Davis tells the story of what the Yankees did to his city. Davis provides the most extensive account of the Federal shelling of Atlanta, relying on contemporary newspaper accounts more than any previous scholar. Davis makes a point that Sherman's wrecking continued during the Federals' two and a half-month occupation, when Northern soldiers stripped house and tore down other structures for wood to build their shanties and huts. Finally, Davis details the burning of Atlanta and studies those accounts which attempt to estimate the extent of destruction in the city.

Recorded at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center in July 2014 as part of the annual Sacred Trust Talks and Book Signings.

To see more, visit

Structural conditions of police-involved killings in the United States

Dr. Stephanie Bohon's seminar on March 25, 2019, as part of the DySoC/NIMBioS Seminar Series. To read more about the seminar, visit

RM137: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Denies SORNA Challenge to Whitmayer & Lacombe

On Episode 137 of Registry Matters, we covered a SORNA challenge out of Pennsylvania. These are people who were sentenced more than 20 years ago, and were scooped up into the enhanced registration schemes. The schemes that they signed up for when their convictions happened have changed. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied their SORNA challenge.

We also covered some news items related to folks on the registry and then also covered some listener questions.





[29:32] Question about some of the nuances of transferring supervision to a new state

[53:47] Whitmayer & Lacombe PA Supreme Court

Part 3| Urban Violence as a Public Health Issue: What are the Civil Rights Implications?

Part three of the panel “Urban Violence as a Public Health Issue: What are the Civil Rights Implications?,” presented during the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Ninth Annual Fall Institute” on November 4, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Social scientists have increasingly found that the high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorders, poverty, mental illness, education deficiencies, social disconnection and other systemic issues have a direct connection between high crime levels in urban communities and mass incarceration. Urban violence must be addressed from the public health perspective.

A project in Atlanta interviewed a cohort of over 10,000 subjects from inner-city Atlanta, and found that the rates of PTSD and Depression are higher than in our military veterans. These disorders, which result in part from trauma exposure during development, significantly increase likelihood of substance abuse and violent behavior, explaining a significant percentage of the high risk for criminal behavior and arrest in this population.

Moderator: The Honorable Bernice B. DONALD, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Dr. Maxine HAYES, MD,MPH Retired State Health Officer, Washington State Dept. of Health, Clinical Professor of
Pediatrics Emeritus, University of Washington, Seattle
Josh HORWITZ J.D., Executive Director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, Washington, DC
A C WHARTON, JR., Attorney at The A C Wharton Group, LLC and former Mayor of both Shelby County, TN & Memphis, TN

The Role of Civil Disobedience in Black History

Dr. Thomas A Minor presents a talk about the Civil Disobedience movement of the 1960's.

08/04/2020 Candidate Forum for the August 18 Primary Election, hosted by Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor

We invite you to watch this video and hear from several candidates for the August 18, 2020 Primary election so that you can make the right choice with the right candidates to serve our community and us. We had the following candidates appear and share with us: GUIDO WEISS, candidate for U.S. Congressional District 21, EMILY SLOSBERG, up for re-election for State House of Representatives, District 91, SAYD HUSSEIN, candidate for State House of Representatives-District 91, KELLY SKIDMORE, candidate for State House of Representatives-District 81, MICHAEL WEINSTEIN, candidate for State House of Representatives-District 81, ALEX FREEMAN, candidate for Palm Beach County Sheriff, WENDY SARTORY LINK, candidate for Supervisor of Elections Palm Beach County, and PAULETTE ARMSTEAD, candidate for Supervisor of Elections Palm Beach County.

Listen to the candidates, decide whom you should vote for and give the best candidate for the position your vote. L' Dor Va-Dor wants to assist you in making your vote count!

Join us as we build the Judaism of Tomorrow TODAY, a Judaism based on modern understanding, reason and science!

For more information, contact Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor located in Boynton Beach, Florida at Help us get the word out there by clicking our SUBSCRIBE button!

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BrianLehrer.TV: The Rutgers Verdict: Social Media and the Law

Nineteen-year-old Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi was convicted of a hate crime for using a webcam to spy on his roommate, who later committed suicide. But should the way young people are using technology be taken into account in cases like this? Danah Boyd, a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and an expert on youth and social media and CJ Pascoe, a Professor at Colorado College and author of Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity & Sexuality in High School, join us to discuss the verdict and how the law looks at social media. Then, investigative journalist Tracie McMillan went undercover and worked as a farm laborer, at a Walmart, and at an Applebee's to learn how the American food system works. We'll talk about her book, The American Way of Eating. Then Crain's New York Business reporter Daniel Massey joins the discussion to focus on the future of Walmart in New Yor
k City. And we preview The Great GoogaMooga Festival, coming soon to Prospect Park, with Jonathan Mayers, one of its organizers.

Kerry Black Co-Founder, Superfly

Danah Boyd Prof. of Media, Culture, & Communication, NYU

Brian Lehrer Radio Host, WNYC, New York

Daniel Massey Actor

Jonathan Mayers Co-Founder, Superfly

Tracie McMillan Senior Fellow, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism

CJ Pascoe Author, Colorado College

Taped: 03-19-2012

Brian Lehrer, the popular host of WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, hosts an hour-long weekly television program on CUNY TV , where web video meets the issues.

Watch more BrianLehrer.TV at

CSRD — William C. Powers, Jr. Speaker Series: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

On March 3, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy hosted Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation's leading scholars on African American history and literature, as the third keynote presenter in the William C. Powers, Jr. Speaker Series.

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. An Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic and institution builder, he has authored or co-authored 21 books and created 15 documentary films, including Wonders of the African World, African American Lives, Faces of America, Black in Latin America and Finding Your Roots, his groundbreaking genealogy series now in its third season on PBS. His six-part PBS documentary series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (2013), which he wrote, executive produced and hosted, earned the Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program—Long Form, as well as the Peabody Award, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and NAACP Image Award.

REBROADCAST | Forensic Science Capabilities During the Osage Murders Compared to Today


“Forensic Science Capabilities during the Osage Murders Compared to Today”with Dr. Dwight Adams (UCO, Forensic Science Institute) – The former director of the FBI laboratory at Quantico and member of the team that developed DNA techniques first used in 1988, will discuss law enforcement technologies in the early 1900’s and contrast with those available in a modern crime laboratory. Participants will follow the investigation of the murders in Osage County beginning in 1921 and compare the events to modern day investigations.

Reinventing America: Reconstruction 1863-1877 by Lisa C. Childs, Ph.D.

What exactly needs to be reconstructed during Reconstruction, and why has this period been so controversial among historians and so overlooked by the general public? Drawing on examples from Fort Smith and elsewhere in Arkansas, our guest speaker will discuss how communities, southern states, and the nation answer the questions raised by the destruction of slavery and the defeat of secession—and shape America’s future in the process.
Lisa C. Childs, Ph.D., is Assistant Vice President for Technology Commercialization at The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and a Patent Attorney. She has published on Reconstruction and the formation of the Republican Party in Arkansas.



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