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White, Welsh S. 1940-2005

PERSONAL:

Born April 17, 1940; died December 31, 2005, from lung cancer; married Linda Timmons; children: Henry, Robin, Ryan, Kathryn. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1962; University of Pennsylvania, L.L.B., 1965.

CAREER:

Former staff member of White and Williams law firm and for the District Attorney's office, both in Philadelphia, PA; University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, PA, member of faculty, beginning 1968.

WRITINGS:

Life in the Balance: Procedural Safeguards in Capital Cases, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1984.

Pennsylvania Interrogations and Confessions, Harrison (Norcross, GA), 1985.

The Death Penalty in the Eighties: An Examination of the Modern System of Capital Punishment, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1987.

(With James J. Tomkovicz) Criminal Procedure: Constitutional Constraints on Investigation and Proof, Matthew Bender (New York, NY), 1990, 4th edition, LexisNexis, 2001.

The Death Penalty in the Nineties: An Examination of the Modern System of Capital Punishment, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1991.

Miranda's Waning Protections: Police Interrogation Practices after Dickerson, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2001.

Litigating in the Shadow of Death: Defense Attorneys in Capital Cases, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2006.

Contributor of scholarly articles to periodicals, including Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Review.

SIDELIGHTS:

Attorney and law professor Welsh S. White was an expert on the law pertaining to capital punishment. A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, he started out as a lawyer at the same firm where both his father and grandfather previously worked, then worked briefly for the Philadelphia District Attorney's office before accepting a teaching position at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, where he remained on the faculty until his death. Over the course of his teaching career, White attempted to pass on to his students not just the letter of the law, but knowledge of the more practical aspects of being an attorney. The University of Pittsburgh Law School Web site quotes him as stating: "I have become increasingly convinced that law schools need to help students develop the skills they need to be effective attorneys."

White's interest in the practical application of the law is reflected in his books. Miranda's Waning Protections: Police Interrogation Practices after Dickerson is the result of more than ten years of research into police interrogations and confessions, and how these practices affect the court cases that follow. In Litigating in the Shadow of Death: Defense Attorneys in Capital Cases, he addresses the work of defense lawyers intent on overturning convictions that have landed their clients on death row, or on lessening the conviction to prevent an execution. Sean O'Brien in the Michigan Law Review stated: "In spite of the discouraging state of capital representation in America, Professor White's innate optimism illuminates a hopeful future." O'Brien went on to conclude: "White's telling of the gripping stories of capital defense lawyers and their clients reflects his well-known passion for human rights. More importantly, his book highlights some needed reforms in the field of capital litigation."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Michigan Law Review, April 1, 2007, Sean D. O'Brien, review of Litigating in the Shadow of Death: Defense Attorneys in Capital Cases, p. 1067.

ONLINE

University of Pittsburgh Law School Web site,http://www.law.pitt.edu/ (June 27, 2007), faculty biography.

University of Pittsburgh Research Review,http://www.umc.pitt.edu/ (June 27, 2007), "Speaking Out on the Right to Remain Silent."

OBITUARIES

ONLINE

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Online,http://www.postgazette.com/ (January 1, 2006), Moustafa Ayad, obituary for Welsh S. White.

About this article

White, Welsh S. 1940-2005

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