Alexander Williams the Death Penalty Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

It appears that they were not aware of the situation with Williams when it came to the mental illness and the child abuse, but it is also possible that they kept silent about the issue against an attorney that they knew to be incompetent in order to get a conviction. Speculation is all that is available on that issue where the prosecution is concerned since accounts of what happened to Alexander Williams do not indicate whether the prosecution had knowledge of the mental health problems that Williams had and/or the abusive home that he came from.

THE ATTORNEY'S INVESTIGATION

Perhaps this section should be more appropriately called 'the attorney's lack of investigation,' as that is largely what took place. There were many mitigating circumstances that surrounded Alexander Williams and the murder that he committed, but the incompetent attorney that was assigned to him failed to investigate any of them (Juvenile, 2002). It is unfortunate that the attorney that was available to him thought so little of Alexander Williams that he chose not to even bother to investigate the boy's background in order to determine whether there was some reason that his client should be spared. While no literature really discusses it and it cannot be proven, it almost appears as though the attorney for Alexander Williams wanted Williams to receive the death penalty.

THE LACK OF APPEAL

The attorney that was supposed to meet with Alexander Williams for a re-trial never appeared (Georgia, n.d.). Because of this, Williams simply remained on death row -- just another condemned murderer receiving no treatment for his mental health problems other than to be forcefully medicated so that he could be considered sane enough to be executed (Executing, 2002). Even though there are regulations in many states that prohibit the execution of mentally retarded individuals, these laws do not protect against the mentally ill and so they offered no protection for Alexander Williams.

It was only two days before his scheduled execution that the Georgia Supreme Court ordered a stay (Death, 2005). This came about not from an appeals process but because the media and other advocacy groups had finally discovered the truth about Alexander Williams, his incompetent attorney, and the problems that were seen in the case (Death, 2005). His sentence was commuted in February of 2002 to a sentence of life in prison, but his life was cut short in November of 2002 when he took his own life.

CONCLUSION

It is very tragic that Williams committed suicide in November of 2002 (Georgia, n.d.). His life had been spared and he had been moved off of death row and into prison in February of that year. It was commendable that this took place in an effort to correct a past mistake, but William's death indicates that not enough was done to protect him even once he was moved to prison. It is likely that the extent of his mental illness was still not really recognized and this could have been what brought him to the conclusion that it was necessary to end his own life. Whether Williams was being medicated for his problems at the time of his death has not been mentioned. It brings a very tragic end to a story that was already full of tragedy and pain.

WORKS CITED

Death penalty and people with mental illness. (2005). National Mental Health Association. Retrieved 24 February 2005 from http://www.nmha.org/position/deathpenalty / juvcasestudy.cfm

Executing Alexander Williams (2002, February 19). Chicago Tribune. CrimeLynx. Retrieved 24 February 2005 from http://www.crimelynx.com/alexw.html

Georgia Moratorium Campaign. (n.d.) Alexander Williams: A case for moratorium. Retrieved 24 February 2005 from http://www.georgiamoratorium.org/alexwilliams.html

Juvenile death penalty Alex Williams (2002). American Bar Association, reprinted with permission from Amnesty International. Retrieved 24 February 2005 from http://www. abanet.org/crimjust/juvjus/williamsua02.html

Sources Used in Document:

WORKS CITED

Death penalty and people with mental illness. (2005). National Mental Health Association. Retrieved 24 February 2005 from http://www.nmha.org/position/deathpenalty / juvcasestudy.cfm

Executing Alexander Williams (2002, February 19). Chicago Tribune. CrimeLynx. Retrieved 24 February 2005 from http://www.crimelynx.com/alexw.html

Georgia Moratorium Campaign. (n.d.) Alexander Williams: A case for moratorium. Retrieved 24 February 2005 from http://www.georgiamoratorium.org/alexwilliams.html

Juvenile death penalty Alex Williams (2002). American Bar Association, reprinted with permission from Amnesty International. Retrieved 24 February 2005 from http://www. abanet.org/crimjust/juvjus/williamsua02.html

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