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Valuing Black Lives: A Case for Ending the Death Penalty

As the nation continues to push back against racial injustice, it is imperative to evaluate all areas of the criminal justice system to discern any traces of racial injustice, discrimination, or prejudice. In this webinar, our panelists will explore the concept of the death penalty on a broader scale, delving into its historical development, including its interplay with post-slavery racism and its present-day effects. Our panelists will also explore more specific elements of the death penalty, such as the relationship between racial disparity and the use of the death penalty, present-day racial justice victories like the resuscitation of the Racial Justice Act in North Carolina and two recent Swain victories (Foster and Gates) when outright blatant discrimination was belatedly uncovered.

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Valuing Speed: The Costs in Fairness, Accuracy & Money in Trying to Accelerate Executions

Long before COVID-19 ravaged the nation, the use of the death penalty has been on a downward trend for quite some time. This year, the use of the death penalty has reached a new low as governments faces practical challenges of COVID. In this webinar, our panelists will discuss how execution holds initially across the country and the widespread economic downturn in the United States have negatively impacted the use of the death penalty. Our panelists will also explore how the pandemic has affected capital litigation by threatening due process specifically at trial, in post-conviction, and in execution-date clemency proceedings, inhibiting the development of mitigation cases when attorneys and their aides and experts cannot work normally. Our panelists will unpack the controversy surrounding execution drug shortages. Ohio’s implementing a de facto moratorium on executions in light of the pandemic will be examined, and considered in the context of the state’s failure to implement the recommendations of an ABA assessment team and a commission created by the state government. In a further exploration of the many ways in which the death penalty system violates due process, a panelist will discuss a recent analysis of jury‘s roles in creating racist results.

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A Tale of Two Trends: Decreasing Support and Accelerating Federal Executions

According to many recent polls, public support for the death penalty has weakened significantly. In this webinar, our panelists will explore how the symbolic role of the death penalty is akin to that of Confederate monuments in a spirited discussion about growing trends toward abolition and moratorium — even as the federal government resumed and tried to accelerate executions. Our panelists will also analyze the ironic legacy of Furman v. Georgia and Gregg v. Georgia in affecting recent developments in death penalty law such as recent Sixth Amendment decisions, and packing of the Judiciary. Finally, our panelists will delve into the key role of this year’s elections in the states on reapportionment, statutes, DA elections, and the courts.

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