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The death penalty in pictures

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. was sentenced to death last fall after a federal jury found that he kidnapped and killed 22-year-old college student Dru Sjodin.

The trial was the first death penalty case in a century in North Dakota, and it focused a great deal of attention on the issue of capital punishment.

Now, a photo exhibition on the subject is coming to North Dakota State University.

The show by Scott Langley and his Langley Creations Photography was created in partnership with Amnesty International USA.

Fargo is the first stop in a series of shows planned for North Dakota cities into 2008.


The North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, which worked to make the exhibit happen, is not shy about its stand on capital punishment.

"What if a jury is asked again to impose the death penalty? We want them to understand how it is not just in practice and it is a violation of human rights," said Cheryl Bergian, NDHRC executive director.

Supporters of the death penalty argue it represents justice for the taking of a

life and eliminates the chance that a murderer will kill again.

Bergian said in practice the death penalty is imposed unevenly across the country and minorities are sentenced to death out of proportion to their numbers in society.

She said there is also the real possibility a jury

will condemn an innocent person.

The photo exhibit runs Tuesday through Sunday at NDSU.


U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson, who presided over the Rodriguez trial, will give a talk at NDSU on Wednesday night.

"It's the only capital case he's sat on," Bergian said of Erickson. "He's going to talk about what it's like to be a judge presiding over a trial where the possible penalty is death."

If you go

- What: Death penalty photo exhibition with talk by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson - "The View from the Bench: The Intricacies of Presiding Over a Capital Punishment Trial"

- Where: North Dakota State University Memorial Union Gallery

- When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; seating for the lecture is limited. People

who wish to attend should call (701) 239-9323, or e-mail rsvp@ndhrc.org

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555


The death penalty in pictures Dave Olson 20071015

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