April 28, 2019 Pro Bono

Wrongfully Convicted Former Death Row Prisoner Speaks at Gathering of Pro Bono Lawyers

Emily Olson-Gault, Project Director
 Project Director Emily Olson-Gault and former death row prisoner Jimmy Dennis at the Pro Bono EXPO during the PBI 2019 Annual Conference

Project Director Emily Olson-Gault and former death row prisoner Jimmy Dennis at the Pro Bono EXPO during the PBI 2019 Annual Conference

©Pro Bono Institute

On March 28, 2019, the Death Penalty Representation Project presented a program entitled “New Frontiers in Death Penalty Cases” during the 2019 Pro Bono Institute Annual Conference. The conference was attended by hundreds of law firm, in-house, and public interest lawyers and pro bono professionals from across the United States. The Project’s program, moderated by Director Emily Olson-Gault, featured a panel that included former death row prisoner Jimmy Dennis along with his pro bono counsel from Arnold & Porter, Rebecca Gordon, and nationally recognized death penalty expert and director of the Death Penalty Information Center, Robert Dunham. Each panelist spoke about the importance of effective representation in capital cases and the pivotal role of pro bono attorneys. Mr. Dunham discussed national trends in public opinion toward the death penalty and observed that while the death penalty has declined in usage in some jurisdictions, it has intensified in others, and in those high-usage jurisdictions, the need for pro bono assistance is more urgent than ever. The panelists also discussed practical ways in which death penalty representation has changed and new opportunities to obtain relief for capital clients. Finally, Mr. Dennis spoke about his gratitude toward his pro bono lawyers and his certainty that without the pro bono assistance of Ms. Gordon and her colleagues, he would have been executed long ago for a crime he did not commit.

Read more about Jimmy Dennis's case in our newly updated collection of pro bono success stories!