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President Jimmy Carter to speak at ABA meeting on future of death penalty in America

President Jimmy Carter to speak at ABA meeting on future of death penalty in America

By Irma Romero

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2013 — Building upon a decade of state-by-state research on the death penalty, the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Due Process Review Project and The Carter Center will hold a daylong symposium on Tuesday, Nov. 12, to discuss the ABA project’s key findings and the state of the modern death penalty in America.  

Featuring remarks by former United States President Jimmy Carter and ABA President James R. Silkenat, the event will mark a pivotal point in the movement to ensure fairness and accuracy in the death penalty process. 

What:        National Symposium on the Modern Death Penalty in America  

When:       9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12 

Where:      The Carter Center
                  One Copenhill
                  453 Freedom Parkway
                  Atlanta, GA 30307  

**Note: For security reasons, members of the press are asked to preregister

A series of panels on issues ranging from arrest to execution will build upon ABA analysis of death penalty systems in 12 states — Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Texas. These states together account for almost 65 percent of the executions that have taken place in the U.S. in the modern death penalty era.

Program highlights include: 

“The State of the Modern Death Penalty” — A discussion will take place between former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Steve Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, and ABA President James R. Silkenat.
9:30 – 10 a.m. 

“Professionalism: The Role of the Bar in Ensuring Fairness” — Panelists, including Mark Earley, former attorney general of Virginia, and retired Judge Boyce Martin, from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, will discuss the role that defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges play in ensuring fairness in capital proceedings.
9:45 – 11 a.m. 

“Righting Wrongs: Preventing and Correcting Wrongful Conviction in Capital Cases” — Panelists, including Jim Petro, former attorney general from Ohio, and Pennsylvania state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, will discuss wrongful convictions and access to courts to correct error. 
11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

“Executing People with Mental Illness and Intellectual Disability” — Panelists, including Jeanne Woodford, the former warden at San Quentin State Prison in California, will discuss this timely topic.
2 – 3 p.m. 

“Lightning Strikes: Arbitrariness and the Death Penalty” — Panelists, including former Texas Gov. Mark White and Evan Mandery, author of “A Wild Justice,” will discuss whether the current death penalty is administered fairly, impartially and in accordance with due process.
3:15 – 4:30 p.m.  

Steve Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, will close the meeting with a call to action. 

The ABA Death Penalty Due Process Review Project conducts research and educates the public and decision-makers on the operation of capital jurisdictions’ death penalty laws and processes in order to promote fairness and accuracy in the death penalty system. The Project encourages adoption of the ABA’s Protocols on the Fair Administration of the Death Penalty, assists state and federal stakeholders on death penalty issues, and collaborates with other individuals and organizations to develop new initiatives to support reform of death penalty processes. 

More information about the meeting can be found online

For media credentialing, please contact Emilie Surrusco at

This event is open to members of the press. 

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.


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