Speedy Rice went to Strasbourg, France, in December of 1997, armed with the idea of forming an anti-death-penalty alliance through the European Union. Specifically, the American law professor, with the cooperation of an Italian abolitionist group -- Hands Off Cain -- wanted European economic sanctions against Missouri and the 37 other U.S. states that impose the death penalty. Conversely, Rice and his delegation, which included other members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), urged the Europeans to invest in states such as Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, which don't have capital-punishment laws. Despite their apparent receptiveness, the parliamentarians themselves had little influence over the industrialists in their own countries. The proposal died like a neglected refugee. There would be no dramatic change in international diplomacy, no shift in world trade. But Rice's message did attract the attention of Paolo Landi, a Benetton Group executive. The Italian clothing-company official appeared unexpectedly and requested an audience with the Americans, leaving them all puzzled. Nobody had a clue as to why the foreign businessman had chosen to... More >>>