The case of Earl Washington: a four-part series

June 8: Overview
June 15: Chronology
June 22: The original trial
June 29: People involved looking back
By DAVID SWANSON Staff Writer

June 8: Overview

Gov. James Gilmore last week ordered new DNA testing on evidence from a 1984 Culpeper case, testing defense lawyers predict will exonerate a local man who has been behind bars for 17 years, 10 of them on death row.

Gilmore on June 1 ordered additional testing in the case of Earl Washington, a mentally retarded man from Bealeton convicted at age read more

United States of Rome

Thanksgiving Day 2000
Every morning on the way to work and every evening on the way back home I walk between the east side of the United States Capitol and the west sides of the U.S. Supreme Court and Library of Congress. I’m often struck by the Romanness of the architecture and the Roman ambitions of this country’s past and present “leaders,” despite the differences between life in Washington and Rome.

Lately, the biting cold has left my face feeling like rubber during read more

American Violence

Why do kids get shot in schools in the U.S.? The vast presence of guns is one possible contributing factor. So is the violence in U.S. movies, music, books, magazines, and video games. The extreme inequality in wealth in the U.S., poor child raising, high divorce, and low quality schools are other possible culprits. It’s also possible to suspect an American genetic tendency toward violence, but I don’t believe we know enough to address that possibility.

Guns are defended as necessary read more

Town Council Breaks The Law

The Culpeper Town Council violated state
law, specifically the Freedom of Information
Act, in voting by written ballot to elect a new
vice mayor at last week

NOTES ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE

NOTES ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE
January, 1999

We cruelly abuse those convicted of crimes. Some who are convicted protest their innocence. Some of these are later found to have been telling the truth. Others plead guilty in plea bargains despite being innocent. This eases our consciences, but does not necessarily promote justice.

This is from You Are Going to Prison by Jim Hogshire:

“The plea bargain is what keeps the courts going at all. Without them, the ‘justice system’ would read more

Defending Slavery

We published several weeks ago in the Culpeper News a letter rightly condemning our Governor’s misguided declaration of “Confederate History Month.” The flood of letters defending Robert E. Lee and so forth was predictable up until May 25, when we printed a letter from Lorie Brown of Tombstone, Arizona, which – in so far as sense can be derived from it – appears to defend slavery (before making the usual assertion that slavery had nothing to do with the war).

The read more

The Last Word on Sodomy

When I read Newsweek, I generally skim it, and even then seem to grasp it all without having to really pay attention. But sometimes I hit the George Will column, “The Last Word,” like a brick wall. I have to go back over it carefully three times, and even then can only at best guess what he’s saying. His thinking is so far removed from mine, and he is so convinced that everybody already shares his views, that I often have a hard time grasping his message.

This was the case read more

Leash Them Doggies

The Board of Supervisors Rules Committee,
by a 2-1 vote, on Tuesday sent on to the full
board with recommendation for approval a
proposal to create a countywide leash law for
dogs.

The committee tabled until October a
proposal to create an admissions tax for events
such as concerts or movies. It tabled indefinitely
read more

Reference Letter from Jen Kern

From Jen Kern

To Whom it May Concern,

I am a former colleague of David Swanson who worked closely with him in his capacity as Communications Coordinator for ACORN for over two years.

I found David to be hardworking, conscientious and passionate about the struggle for social and economic justice. He quickly adjusted to both the substance of his work (which often involved learning very detailed aspects of a range of complicated policy issues) and to the pace, climate, and values of the organization. read more