Terry Lenamon: Why I decided to have a blog

Welcome to my new blog.
I've been practicing criminal law for a long time, and my schedule has been so busy that it's been a while since I took time to think about why I do what I do. Launching this blog is an opportunity for such reflection.
Why DO I defend what some call "the worst of the worst"?
Just why is it that I defend those people that have been described on more than one occasion (and by more than one prosecutor) as the worst of the worst?
First, a word about what I do. I'm a criminal defense attorney who focuses upon death penalty cases. In Florida, where I live and do most of my work, death penalty cases have two lawyers, known as first chair and second chair. As first chair in a death penalty case, my job is concerned with the guilt finding of the defendant. As second chair, my job is to convince the jury to spare the life of the person if they are convicted. This job is known as "mitigation," a specialized area that I will talk more about in a later post. I have further specialized in mental health aspects. More on that later, too.
"How can you represent those people?"
There are all the usual stock answers. "I am defending the Constitution." "The death penalty is not a cost effective solution." "There is no deterrent value." "As for retribution, is a life in a cage worse than death?" "The system is not perfect, and innocent people have been sentenced to death." "Death row is overwhelmingly populated by the poor and disadvantaged."
And all of these answers are true, but they don't tell you the whole story.
Fundamentally, I do this because I want to understand. Why did this happen? How did this person arrive at my figurative doorstep, accused of a horrendous crime? What are the factors, the background, the events that led this person here?
Every person has a story. There is always some underlying common humanity in even those convicted of the most brutal crimes. It is my job to bring these mitigating factors to the jury, to shed light on the darkest heart and most disturbed mind.
And I'm publishing this blog, devoted to the topic of capital punishment, i.e., the death penalty, because I think that you may share the same core need that I have: the need to know WHY.

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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
AshleyP - March 11, 2009 3:14 PM

Alright Mr, Lenamon, I am so glad you are doing this blog!!! The Caylee Daily website has so many legal questions with the high profile case and this gives so many understanding of the issues involved and we love seeing you on Nancy Grace! Thankyou and keep up the good work.

Kathy - March 11, 2009 8:37 PM

Finally! A blog with a dose of intelligence! I'll follow faithfully!

danielle - March 12, 2009 1:36 AM

Insteresting comment until the last paragraph. You are planning on publishing this BLOG!

danielle - March 12, 2009 5:52 PM

If in fact you are planning on writing a book based on this blog, I respectfully respect that I NOT BE INCLUDED. I am not giving you any form of permission to use any information posted by me. So with that being said, I will no longer post here. No where that I can find on this site that I can find, says that I give you permission to use information anyway you want. It that is your intention, I would say... "POST IT IN YOUR TERMS OF SERVICE".

admin - March 13, 2009 9:34 AM

In response to AshleyP: Thanks - I hope that this blog can be useful to you and other readers.

- Terry

admin - March 13, 2009 9:35 AM

In response to Kathy:

Thanks so much for your support - please continue to contribute.

- Terry

admin - March 13, 2009 9:42 AM

In response to Danielle -

Please do not be concerned. I have no intention to further reproduce any readers' posts for my personal use.

However, when I said "publish," "publish" means communicating in any media - paper, video, pixels, etc. When a person posts something to the internet, it is just the same as if they published it in a newspaper, a book, on television, etc. The internet is this century's equivalent of the newspaper.


lavanda dolce - April 3, 2009 6:36 PM

In addressing your last sentence, the "need to know why", sometimes we may never know the real answer as to why someone commits such a horrendous act. I personally am on the border of do I believe in the death penalty or not? On one hand I believe a life in prison would be any easy out for one who has committed a terrible crime against humanity and/or an individual.

Who am I to vote against the death penalty for my state and take away the rights of a family member who believes the maniac who murdered their husband/spouse/child should be executed?

In other words, I strongly support if one is convicted without a doubt of a murder (and not based on circumstantial evidence)...should the death penalty be issued, I believe it should be up to the family of the deceased to determine if the criminal should be executed. If any of the immediate family members agree to the execution than they should be allowed to inject the lethal cocktail, not a person of the court. (medical professional) I believe that would fall under a true "eye for an eye". Let the family decide.

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