April 10. A Sunny afternoon, but cool. The kids are in the big room at St. Ann’s, an Episcopal church in New York’s South Bronx. They are finishing their homework during the afterschool program.
Pineapple is struggling with the electric pencil sharpener next to the closet on the left side of the room. Eight years old, she huffs and puffs as she keeps putting the same pencil back into the sharpener, then looking at the point with obvious dissatisfaction, then putting it back in again, until it’s down to almost nothing. She keeps staring at it with an irritated look, as if she knew that this was going to happen.
When she’s done, she passes out the pencils to the children at her table, saving the one she’s sharpened to a stump for last, then giving it to a boy she doesn’t like because he teases her for being plump.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).