Interview with Andrew Forsythe

Video 1 of Interview with Andrew Forsythe

Video 2 of Interview with Andrew Forsythe

Andrew Forsythe is a criminal defense attorney and has been practicing law in Austin, Texas since graduating from the University of Texas School of Law in 1978. In Video 1, Forsythe discusses his professional background; his stint as a prosecutor; his path to practicing as a criminal defense attorney; and his experiences representing James Carl Lee Davis, who was charged with capital murder in 1984, convicted and sentenced to death in 1985, and executed on September 9, 1997. In the second part of Video 1 and the first part of Video 2, Forsythe continues discussing the case of James Carl Lee Davis, including the questions of developmental disability and mental illness that were raised as mitigating factors in his defense; other memories of the trial; and visiting Davis on Death Row shortly before his execution. In the second part of Video 2, Forsythe discusses representing Kenneth McDuff at trial beginning in 1994 for a 1991 capital murder in Austin, Texas, and for which McDuff was ultimately sentenced to death. Forsythe discusses the unique challenges of defending McDuff, a man whose 1968 death sentence had been commuted to life after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional in 1972, and who, after his parole in 1989, was sentenced to death a second time for a 1992 murder in Waco, Texas, a murder for which he was eventually executed on November 17, 1998. Forsythe discusses working on the case with his friend and colleague Chris Gunter; the effects of the trial on his personal and professional life; the legal and logistical challenges that arose, including changing venue to Seguin, Guadalupe County due to the publicity surrounding the case; interactions with jurors; and his thoughts on the death penalty in general and its implementation in Texas. This interview took place in Forsythe's office in Austin, Travis County, Texas on May 21, 2008.

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