Friday, April 26, 2002

Long NYTimes article on the Club Happiness murders, as well as the state of dining in New Yawk. reg. required.


...The case has also drawn widespread attention because it is a fresh challenge to the death penalty at a time when attitudes about the issue have been shifting nationally. There have been new death row exonerations, and some polls show a softening of support for executions, although two-thirds of Americans still say they support the death penalty.

During arguments to spare him from the death penalty after his conviction in 1998, the lawyers for Mr. Harris, now 44, worked to humanize him, contending that his crime was the result of post-traumatic stress disorder, caused in part by the riot. They listed a catalog of misfortunes suffered by Mr. Harris, including what they said was childhood abuse by his alcoholic mother that sometimes involved beatings with an extension cord.

No one has been executed in New York State since 1963. Since the penalty was re-enacted in 1995, five other men have been sent to New York's death row at the state prison in Dannemora, near the Canadian border.