Monday, January 22, 2007

Newspaper Study of Death Penalty Cases

Journalists reviewed death penalty cases in Alabama, Georgia, Mississioopi, and Virginia, finding weak defense. In the penalty phase of trial, "defense lawyers gave jurors little or no evdence to help them decide whether the accused should live or die." Moreover, appeals courts often "ducked ... Supreme Court directives about the importance of good defense counsel." The article points to very low state funding of death penalty defense as the chief cause of the poor representation. Stephen Henderson, Defense often inadequate in 4 death-penalty states, review finds, Seattle Times, Jan. 22, 2007.

The study was a project of McClatchy Newspapers, a group I hadn't heard of. It turns out that the McClatchy Company is the second-larges newspaper company in the U.S. Its purchase of the Knight Ridder chain last summer moved it into that high spot in the rankings. Its newspaper holdings include papers serving small markets (e.g., the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, GA) and big cities (e.g., the Miami Herald).

Here in the Northwest, McClatchy papers include the Bellingham Herald, the Idaho Statesman, the News Tribune, the Olympian, and the Tri-City Herald. And McClatchy owns 49.5% of the Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company publishes the Issaquah Press, Newcastle News, Sammamish Review, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, and the Yakima Herald-Republic. So McClatchy has a lot of coverage around here!

The Times prides itself on being family-owned, but Knight Ridder had a minority interest in the paper since 1928 -- and that interest went to McClatchy. Since the Blethen family has a majority of shares and hence of board members, the control is still in the family's hands. The family sometimes made decisions over Knigh Ridder's objections. See article.

Thanks: Mary Hotchkiss.

1 comment:

Barbara's Journey Toward Justice said...

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