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Representing men on death row is confounding, but not without reward. This lawyering work has taught me at least two lessons, the subjects of this essay. First, capital punishment--our attempt to use legal procedures to kill people fairly--is a feminist issue, or should be. Second, death row representation is too big a job for lawyers; we need to recruit poets. To develop these ideas, and perhaps to convince you without requiring you to undertake the same path to these conclusions, I am appropriating novelist Beverly Lowry's stunning new book, Crossed Over: A Murder, A Memoir. Crossed Over is the story of Lowry's friendship with Karla Faye Tucker, a woman on death row in Texas. Lowry is the poet on Tucker's team. The publisher instructs booksellers to place Crossed Over on the “Memoir” or “True Crime” shelf. If shelves were built for “Insights into Death Row Representation,” or even “Illustrations of Relational Feminism,” Crossed Over would belong there as well.

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2 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women's Stud. 401 (1992).