President & Senior Counsel, Southern Center for Human Rights
Stephen B. Bright is one of the country’s leading human rights advocates and attorneys. He is president and senior counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, an Atlanta-based public interest project that provides legal representation to individuals facing the death penalty and to prisoners challenging unconstitutional conditions throughout the South. Mr. Bright is an expert on the criminal justice and prison systems and has represented Death Row inmates at trial, on appeal, and in post-conviction proceedings since 1979. In addition, he has written essays and articles on the right to counsel, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, judicial independence, and other topics that have appeared in scholarly publications, books, magazines and newspapers; and testified before committees of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. A prolific scholar, Mr. Bright currently teaches part-time at Georgetown and Yale Law Schools. His work and the work of the Southern Center for Human Rights have been the subject of the documentary film Fighting for Life in the Death Belt (2005), as well as two books, Proximity to Death by William McFeely (1999) and Finding Life on Death Row by Kayta Lezin (1999). The Fulton County Daily Report named Mr. Bright “Newsmaker of the Year” in 2003 for his contribution to bringing about creation of a public defender system in Georgia. He received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award in 1998 and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. We are delighted that he will be our keynote speaker at this year’s event.