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Who You Gonna Kill?

By most measures, Colorado isn't any more liberal than other western states. So how come the state has managed to put to death only one prisoner in the past forty years, while some of its neighbors — Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma — have kept their execution chambers hopping? One reason is David Wymore, a former Colorado public defender who developed a now widely used approach to conducting jury selection in capital cases that screens out the most death-inclined citizens in the pool. Recently celebrated for his defense work in the Tim Masters case, Wymore is also the subject of a new documentary, The Life Penalty, screening at the Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway, at 6:30 p.m. tonight; tickets are $10, and proceeds benefit Wymore's efforts to teach his methods to other defense attorneys. Although the film seems aimed more toward death-penalty opponents and lawyers — it's been approved for continuing legal-education credit — than general audiences, it provides a cogent inside look at how crusaders get behind the minds of the folks who want to fry their clients and raises some queasy moral issues: Just who would you kill, if you made it past Wymore's probing? A previously unreleased early Bob Dylan song, "The Ballad of Donald White," and historical footage keep things moving. Another screening is set for the Wolf Law Building at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder on April 16; go to for a trailer and more info.
Thu., April 10, 6:30 p.m., 2008


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