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The author, formerly a death row lawyer in Florida, gives an account of his decision to retire from active work in the American capital punishment system in this book. He presents the cases he worked on - including those of confessed serial killer Ted Bundy and of ""Crazy Joe"" Spaziano, wrongly convicted but still on death row after 20 years. He describes how he and others fought to make the post-conviction system work, ensuring inmates the right to a fair appeal. The legal maze of appeals, death warrants, stays of execution, and executions, are emphasized.;Michael Mello refers to the lack of vigilance in a system that punishes guilty and innocent alike. And, practising in Florida, he saw the state's death penalty cost to taxpayers rise to an estimated average US$3.2 million per execution - six times the average cost of life imprisonment. Mello condemns the death penalty as a grotesque waste, one that dishonours victims and their families, exacts formidable costs from government and citizens alike, plays into political agendas, and undermines, warps and demeans the American justice system. Should lawyers of conscience, Mello asks, participate in a system that is dead wrong? Though more prisoners are now on death row in more states than ever before, Mello has made his decision to withdraw his support from the system of the death penalty.