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"Execution by the Numbers": A Social Justice Film

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See the trailer here: 

Executions of people with Intellectual Disabilities continue today in the United States, despite a 2002 Supreme Court decision ruling that they are cruel and unusual punishment and thus unconstitutional. The documentary film "Execution by the Numbers" deals with groundbreaking legal history, with why and how these executions continue, and with what it will take to stop the killings by the State of some of society's most neglected and demeaned people, those who have low I.Q.s, are disproportionately Black and Latinx and poor, and sit on Death Row awaiting their end.

In 1986, Jerome Bowden, a poor, orphaned, young, Black man with an IQ of 59 was executed based on a confession he was coerced into signing. Less than two years later, publicity about his execution led Georgia to become the first state to outlaw executions of people with low I.Q.s or what are now called Intellectual Disabilities (ID). Other states followed suit, and in 2002 legal history was made when the United States Supreme Court issued the Atkins v. Virginia ruling that it is unconstitutional to execute such people. Justice John Paul Stevens writing for the majority cited the Bowden case as having started the tidal wave of changes leading to this.  Sadly, the SCOTUS decision failed in its aim to halt some of these  most serious injustices in the criminal justice system.  

Post-production has just begun, and we would be grateful for any donations to help complete the work and get the film out there to educate people and move them to action. 

We will post updates about the sterling interviewees who appear in the film, the award-winning film team, and new developments in the field.

Tax-deductible donations of any size to help complete the film will be gratefully accepted and may be made to Picture Social Justice, a new 501(c)3 non-profit established in April, 2020. You will not see it online until the IRS letter is sent, which we expect in a few months, but we are happy to answer any questions about it at [email redacted].


  • Leslie Friedlander
    • $72 
    • 3 yrs
  • Rosa Smith
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Debra Decker
    • $250 
    • 3 yrs
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anne Tarpey
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs


Paula Caplan
Rockville, MD

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