Scott Panetti is schizophrenic and is currently on death row in Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court heard Scott's case in mid April and is expected to hand down their decision on Thursday June 28th.The high court has long held that it is cruel and unusual punishment to execute the insane. In Scott Panetti's case the justices are examining whether it is cruel and unusual punishment to execute a person who does not fully understand the reason he is to be put to death. Scott Panetti thinks Texas wants to kill him because it is in cahoots with the devil. The devil, he theorizes, wants to stop him from preaching the gospel.Scott Panetti was tried for the capital murder of Joe Alvarado and Amanda Alvarado, his parents-in-law on September 8, 1992 in Gillespie County, Texas. At his trial, he fired his attorney and represented himself. He flipped a coin to decide on whether to keep a potential juror on his panel. Wearing a purple cowboy suit and mimicking a John Wayne character called the Ringo Kid, he blamed the shootings on another personality named Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sarge.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ As evidence, he tried to subpoena Jesus Christ, the Pope, and John F. Kennedy.He was subsequently sentenced to death on September 22, 1995. Panetti has an extensive history of mental illness, including schizophrenia, manic depression, auditory hallucinations and paranoia. Panetti was hospitalized, both voluntarily and involuntarily for mental illness fourteen times in six different hospitals before his arrest for capital murder in 1992. Following his conviction, PanettiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s former wife, and daughter of the victims, Sonja Alvarado, filed a petition stating that Panetti never should have been tried for the crimes as he was suffering from paranoid delusions at the time of the killings.This video was produced in early 2007 with the Texas Defender Service. For more information about the case please visit:http://www.internationaljusticeproject.org/illnessSPanetti.cfm
Off Center Media is a documentary production company founded by sisters Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler. In 1999, the Kunstlers produced Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War, a short video documentary that exposed a racist drug sting that led to the incarceration of over 10% of the African American community of a small Texas town. The video inspired national media coverage of the drug sting and its aftermath, led to state and federal investigations of the drug sting, helped the defendants secure new representation, influenced the passage of several bills in the Texas Senate, and prompted the federal indictment of the undercover narcotics officer. The success of this documentary as a tool for organizing, advocacy, and ultimately, justice, inspired Emily and Sarah to form Off Center Media. Off Center exposes injustice through the creation and circulation of media. We are committed to investigating and sharing stories of racism and oppression in the hope that we can help effect a country and a world where there really is equal justice for all.