Bruce Reilly is the Deputy Director of Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE) in New Orleans, where he graduated from Tulane Law School. He is a former organizer with Direct Action for Rights & Equality (DARE) in Providence, RI and works with people across the nation on policies related to criminal justice. He is also an artist, poet, director, and playwright, and winner of the 2008 RI State Council of the Arts screenwriting fellowship. Follow his blog at #Unprison.

10 responses to “Feds v. States: Who Decides Death Penalty Fight”

  1. Rhody Towny


    Peter Neronha is a U.S. Attorney, not an Attorney General.  In RI Peter Kilmartin is indeed the Attorney General. Eric Holder has been a far better U.S. Attorney General than any we’ve had in decades.  There is a big difference between these Democrats and the Republicans who would have their jobs.  Or have you so quickly forgotten Alberto Gonzales?

    Sometimes I wish you would find other topics on which to write.  I truly have mixed feelings every time I read your articles.  I agree with the progressive worldview.  I am anti-death penalty.  I believe in redemption.  But I don’t think your articles help make the point.

    You throw barbs at men who have been lawyers and/or lawmakers for decades.  And yet you have not even completed law school.

    You are a convicted murderer who spent very little time behind bars.  What was it, about a decade for a man’s life?  And then you push for greater leniency for murderers.  I’m not sure if that’s hypocritical, ironic, or what.  But it doesn’t sit right.

    Regardless of the details of the case, you must be able to see that the general public will feel that you got off light.  And the couple of conservatives I know who read RIFuture use your articles to point out how progressives are crazy.  And I can understand that perspective.

    I don’t know what I would suggest you do.  I know you’re passionate about this issue.  But I cannot imagine any state allowing a convicted murder admittance to the bar.  Maybe you could work with non-violent offenders for a while though?   

    Because it just seems hypocritical.  And it seems unfair to the victim’s family.

    And I’m really not trying to be mean or offensive.  I just hope you can see this point of view and maybe think over these articles before you post them.

    Thank you. 


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    1. jgardner

      “Eric Holder has been a far better U.S. Attorney General than any we’ve had in decades”
      While I’m no expert on AG’s past, Fast and Furious as well as dropping the investigation of voter intimidation by the NBP party in PA don’t exactly sit well with a lot of folks and could prove to be his downfall, so I can’t exactly put Holder high on the list of AG’s we’ve had.
      “But I cannot imagine any state allowing a convicted murder admittance to the bar.”
      Not that Bruce can’t muster his own defense, but why not? If Bruce has paid his debt per the law, why should a state bar him for admission if he’s qualified in every other way?

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      1. RightToWork

        “If Bruce has paid his debt per the law, why should a state bar him for admission if he’s qualified in every other way?”

        There is a difference between serving a prison sentence and moral absolution. Bar associations require that attorneys be of good moral character. Allowing a convicted murderer to practice law would be a much-publicized embarassment to the bar of any state.

        As a typical example, Rule 4.40 (B) of the California Admission Rules state that:
        “Good moral character” includes … respect for and obedience to the law, and respect for the rights of others and the judicial process.”

        You can see where this would be problematic for somebody with a particularly gruesome murder conviction on their record. I’d be very surprised if any bar association admits him.

        I second Rhody Towny’s comments – the incarcerated could probably find a worse spokesperson than Bruce Reilly, but it would be difficult. He is probably doing more damage than good because of his personal history. I understand that this crusade is his attempt at personal empowerment over his history, but it only serves as a distraction, and the relative leniency he received in sentencing in light of the horrific facts of his case cut directly against some of his core arguments.

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  2. Bill Monroe

    “Eric Holder has been a far better U.S. Attorney General than any we’ve had in decades.”
    I am no expert on U.S. Attorney Generals either but Eric Holder is the first certified Neo-Facist we’ve have in my lifetime……….and I am an old guy. 
    Under Holder, a former corporate oil industry lawyer:

    not a single banker or CEO has been held accountable for crimes that caused the financial meltdown of 2007;
    “due process” does not mean “judicial process” but instead means a couple of politicians deciding who they want to kill;
    the Justice Dept. is arresting and prosecuting citizens legally possessing marijuana;
    the ATF supplied weapons to the Mexican drug cartels;
    hundreds of thousands of Hispanics have been rounded up and detained indefinitely without charge in for-profit prison facilities;
    for-profit prison corporations are assuming ownership and control of federal and state prisons and corporate lobbyists are writing laws to ensure a endless supply of inmates;

    ……..just to name a few.  This guy is pure evil.


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  3. Bill Monroe

    and a post script from USA today……….
    “Justice Department officials said it is not their job to notify prisoners that they might be incarcerated for something that they now concede is not a crime. And although they have agreed in court filings that the men are innocent, they said they must still comply with federal laws that put strict limits on when and how people can challenge their convictions in court.”

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  4. rasputinkhlyst

    You are so right Bill.  At least John Ashcroft had the decency to shoot an attorney in the face and have the attorney he shot apologize to him.

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  5. Bill Monroe

    That was Cheney.

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  6. rasputinkhlyst

    PS For those who were fooled-  It was actually Dick Cheney

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  7. rasputinkhlyst

    Yeah, but that spoils the joke.

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  8. DogDiesel

    I’m glad it was a joke. There’s nothing worse than a “Yea but…” to justify someone’s total incompetence.

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