FEATURED POST

Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Image
Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Director Joe Berlinger talks “Killing Richard Glossip”

Richard Glossip
Richard Glossip
Director Joe Berlinger believes personal liberty is a fundamental American value.

When the government and prosecutors have the power to take that liberty away, he says it should be done fairly and justly. In his opinion, this power was abused in the case of Richard Glossip, who has been given a stay of execution on three separate occasions

“In the Richard Glossip case, I think it’s the poster child of why the death penalty is wrong and it’s a case that is very troubling to me,” said Berlinger in a phone interview with realscreen.

Glossip was convicted of murdering Barry Van Treese in a Best Budget Inn he owned on Jan. 7, 1997 in Oklahoma City, where Glossip worked as the manager.

Justin Sneed, the motel maintenance man, admitted to killing the victim, and his fingerprints were found in the room. But Sneed cut a deal for a life sentence instead of risking the death penalty by telling the police that Glossip hired him to do it. Glossip has always maintained his innocence, saying he had no knowledge that anyone planned to kill Van Treese.

Berlinger is no rookie when it comes to making documentaries on the criminal justice system.

From his Paradise Lost trilogy about the West Memphis Three murders, to Parole Board: Victims Speak, he has been producing and directing stories about criminal justice for decades.

In Killing Richard Glossip, Berlinger said he’s not pushing anti-death penalty views, but thinks the case is deeply troubling because he doesn’t believe Glossip had due process.

The docuseries tells the story of Glossip and the re-investigation of the case with interviews from Sneed and Glossip, as well as the lead detectives and attorneys on both sides of the case.

By now, Glossip has exhausted all his legal options: he has been rejected for clemency and his execution is around the corner once Oklahoma lifts its ban on execution moratoriums. The only way for Glossip to force a new court action is for his defense team to find new evidence suggesting his innocence.

“Here is where I think the power of documentary can be effective. I don’t think the citizens of Oklahoma would willingly want to execute someone who doesn’t deserve to be executed, or at least — in my personal opinion he is innocent — the point of the show is that the case is way too problematic to put this person to death. There are too many questions, too many problems and it needs to be looked at again.”

With the case being decades-old with little physical evidence and archival footage, Berlinger was forced to do recreations of the incident — something he tends to do, as he prefers cinema verite.

He said he also had to get access from the defense team as the investigation unfolded.

“The defense teams are rightly wary of bringing cameras into a situation because they don’t have control.” There are legal concerns from their view about having footage being subpoenaed from the prosecutors.

But the legal team understood there were few options left and realized that having Glossip’s story on air prior to the next execution date — that could be as early as this summer — might bring forth new evidence or new witnesses which could help his case.

Berlinger said the series took about a year to shoot and edit, which he said is a quick time frame. Despite technical production challenges, for Berlinger, a difficult aspect of production was being emotionally invested in Glossip’s story.

“You don’t want to make the situation worse. You feel like you potential have a life and death outcome in your hands. The emotional pressure combined with time pressure of this project was a lot for me and my team to deal with… Having someone on the other end of that story who could be killed in a few months, you feel the weight of that responsibility while you’re making the show,” he said.

Killing Richard Glossip premieres exclusively on ID as a special two-night event on April 17 and Tuesday, April 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Source: Realscreen, Selina Chignall, April 13, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Comments

Frank Link said…
I whole agree 100% with with Joe Berlinger on this. I too feel a lot of pressure and a very high sense of responsibility in trying to stop this madness. I have seen a lot of evidence supporting Richard's innocence and I will continue my fight for his freedom.
Anonymous said…
I believe Richard is innocent and should be freed..
Anonymous said…
Would not let me answer on my account
Jennifer Hale said…
Where is the petition to sign?
Sandra Loper said…
I am pro death penalty, but there is something very troubling about this case. The Governor needs to watch this documentary.

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Texas executes Robert Pruett

Texas: Houston Man Condemned in Family Murder Plot Loses High Court Appeal

8 years since last Thai execution, future of death penalty uncertain

Iran: Young man has hand judicially amputated over jewelry theft

Pakistan's angel of death

Why Indonesia Delays Execution of Death Row Convicts

Malaysia: Over 80 Iranians await execution over drug charges in dire conditions

Man convicted in Texas prison guard’s death to be executed

Execution stayed for Alabama man convicted of killing cop