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Picks and Pans Main: Bytes

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From his 4-by-lO-foot cell, Dean Carter describes everyday life on San Quentin’s death row: the meals, the noise, the strip searches. Alex Bennett, a San Francisco radio morning show host, has posted 11 columns by Carter on his Web site (, dubbing the appeal-awaiting inmate Dead Man Talkin’. A death-penalty opponent, he hopes Carter’s words remind readers that the condemned are “human beings with thoughts and feelings.”

But Carter never details his crimes or even reveals his last name, blanks George Cullins can fill in all too easily. Among the four victims of Carter’s 1984 murder spree was the Oceanside, Calif., retired Marine’s daughter Janette. In March, Cullins launched Citizens for Law and Order Talking ( users/ghc), urging users to protest the Carter site. If prison life is so bad, he says, Carter can “swap places with my daughter. He can have her pine box, and I’ll go see Janette on death row.”

Counters Bennett: “In all the things [Carter] writes, he’s never asked for sympathy, mercy, understanding or anything else. He’s just asked that you know what it’s like to live on death row.”