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Gilmore's Execution Stirs Distress in Law Faculty

By Warren W. Ludwig

Several professors at Harvard Law School expressed distress yesterday at Gary M. Gilmore's execution in Utah.

"Preventing the first person from being executed was symbolic and important," Charles R. Nesson '60, professor of Law, said yesterday, adding that now, he thinks there will be more executions.

Gilmore's execution early yesterday morning, the first capital punishment in the United States since 1967, followed a last minute flurry of court activity.

Late Sunday night, Federal District Court Judge Willis Ritter ordered a stay of execution, but a federal appeals court lifted the stay early Monday morning. Thirty minutes after the stay was lifted, at 8:07 Mountain Standard Time, Gilmore was executed.

Alan M. Dershowitz, professor of Law, said yesterday it is "outrageous beyond belief that a court of appeals should vacate a district court order as quickly as in this case."

"This should not be considered an elimination of the moratorium on capital punishment. It's more a case of cooperative judicial suicide where the state assisted a man in killing himself," Dershowitz said. He added he didn't know if more executions would follow.

Albert M. Sacks, dean of the Law School, said yesterday he did not know of any Law School professors who support capital punishment, but added he did not know everyone's opinion.

Televised Executions?

Jerry L. Jurek, convicted of murdering a 12 year old girl, is scheduled to be executed tomorrow before dawn in Texas where appeals for a stay of execution are still pending. A district court judge has ordered that Texas executions can be televised by the news media.

There are over 350 other men and women in the United States sentenced to death without scheduled dates of execution.

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