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David R. Dow is professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and an internationally recognized figure in the fight against the death penalty. He is the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network. He lives in Houston, Texas. His new book is “The Autobiography of an Execution” (Click to buy on Amazon)
As a lawyer, David R. Dow has represented over 100 death row cases. Many of his clients have died. Most were guilty. Some might have been innocent. The Autobiography of an Execution is his deeply personal story about justice, death penalty, and a lawyer’s life.
It is a chronicle of a life lived at paradoxical extremes: Witnessing executions and then coming home to the loving embrace of his wife and young son, who inquire about his day. Waging moral battles on behalf of people who have committed abhorrent crimes. Fighting for life in America’s death penalty capital, within a criminal justice system full of indifferent and ineffectual judges. Racing against time on behalf of clients who have no more time.
Upcoming Book Signings by David Dow
Monday, February 15th – Brazos Bookstore – Houston, TX
Wednesday, February 17th – Books & Books – Miami, FL
Tuesday, February 23rd – Book People – Austin, TX
Wednesday, February 24th – Barnes & Noble – San Antonio, TX
Saturday, February 27th – Politics & Prose – Washington, DC
“David Dow’s extraordinary memoir lifts the veil on the real world of representing defendants on death row. It will stay with me a long time.”
—Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Nine
“Defending the innocent is easy. David Dow fights for the questionable. He is tormented, but relentless, and takes us inside his struggle with candor and insight, shudders and all.”
—Dave Cullen, author of Columbine
“For a lot of good reasons, and some that are not so good, executions in the U.S. are carried out in private. The voters, the vast majority of whom support executions, are not allowed to see them. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN EXECUTION is a riveting and compelling account of a Texas execution written and narrated by a lawyer in the thick of the last minute chaos. It should be read by all those who support state sponsored killing.”
—John Grisham, author of The Innocent Man
“An unsparing indictment of capital punishment in America and the legal system that enables it . . . . In this deft page-turner, Dow brings the reader into the legal world, as he and his colleagues tried nearly every legal gambit to have Quaker spared, in the days, hours and minutes before his time of execution. The author is equally skilled at evoking the personal toll created by the trial—the sleepless nights, the endless work, the neglect of a lovingly portrayed wife and son, who nevertheless sustained and inspired him. A book of uncompromising honesty and moral beauty.”
“In an argument against capital punishment, Dow’s capable memoir partially gathers its steam from the emotional toll on all parties involved, especially the overworked legal aid lawyers and their desperate clients. The author, the litigation director of the Texas Defender Service and a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, respects the notion of attorney-client privilege in this handful of real-life legal outcomes, some of them quite tragic, while acknowledging executions are ‘not about the attorneys,’ but ‘about the victims of murder and sometimes their killers’ . . . In the end, Dow’s book is a sobering, gripping and candid look into the death penalty.”