September 10, 2019

ABA Death Penalty Representation Project to honor volunteer lawyers at dinner

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2019 — The American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project will recognize Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and White and Case LLP with Exceptional Service Awards for outstanding pro bono representation to prisoners on death row.  In addition, the project will honor Kelley J. Henry from the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee with the 2019 John Paul Stevens Guiding Hand of Counsel Award. Special recognition also will be presented to Ronald J. Tabak, special counsel at Skadden, for his extraordinary leadership and contributions to the project.

The awards will be presented at the project’s 2019 Volunteer Recognition & Awards Dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 at The Decatur House, 748 Jackson Place NW, in Washington, D.C.

The award program will include keynote speaker Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who brought a historic challenge earlier this year to Pennsylvania’s death penalty system, petitioning the state supreme court to strike it down because of bias, lack of qualified counsel and inadequate funding for indigent defendants.

  • Ronald J. Tabak helped create the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project in 1986 and has been a valuable presence ever since, guiding policy positions, recruitment efforts and assisting with the drafting of the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases.
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP currently represents six men on death row, including Bobby Moore. Since 2017, Skadden has twice brought Moore’s case to the U.S. Supreme Court, winning victories both times and setting precedent that will help ensure that scientific standards rather than lay stereotypes are used to assess intellectual disability for individuals facing the death penalty.
  • White and Case LLP has dedicated nearly 15,000 hours to six pro bono death penalty cases since 2013, including two cases taken from the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project. The firm’s innovative and tireless approach to its cases has helped several prisoners win relief from their wrongful death sentences.
  • Kelley J. Henry is a supervisory assistant federal defender in Tennessee, where she represents men and women on death row with skill, dedication and a client-centered approach to her work. She recently led a groundbreaking challenge to the state’s execution protocol, developing new scientific evidence about the possibility of torturous executions that has shaped similar lawsuits across the country.

For more than three decades, the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project has raised awareness about the lack of effective legal representation available to death-sentenced prisoners and addressed this urgent need by recruiting and supporting volunteer law firms. The project also works for systemic reforms that will ensure that everyone facing a possible death sentence is represented at all stages of the proceedings by qualified, adequately compensated counsel.

There is no charge for media covering this event. To register, please contact Matt Cimento at 202-662-1502 or Matt.Cimento@americanbar.org.

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