Spring 2011: New Perspectives on Capital Punishment

On behalf of the Vermont Law Review, it is with great pleasure that we invite you to attend our 11th Annual Symposium, “New Perspectives on Capital Punishment.” Our goal for the Symposium is to explore current issues in capital punishment from the perspective of scholars, litigators, and educators. In addition, as a part of the Symposium, we will honor the work of the late Michael Mello, a former faculty member at Vermont Law School and champion of human rights.

Hosted by the Vermont Law Review

Chase Community Center
Vermont Law School
166 Chelsea St. South Royalton, VT

CLE Applications Pending: VT, NH, & NY

No charge for admission

To register, please send your name and contact info to: symposium@lists.vermontlaw.edu

Schedule of Events

FRIDAY, February 11th, 2011

8:30 – 9:00 — Registration/Breakfast

9:00 – 9:15 — Opening Remarks with Dedication to Michael Mello
Briana Collier, Vermont Law Review Editor-in-Chief
Dean Gilbert Kujovich, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Vermont Law School
Mark Olive

9:15 – 11:00 — Applied Theory and Litigation Strategies
Mark Olive, Sean O’Brien, Deborah Denno, Philip Meyer

11:00 – 11:15 — Break

11:15 – 12:30 — International Law and Capital Punishment
Sandra Babcock, David Sellwood, Stephanie Farrior

12:30 – 1:30 — Lunch in Yates

1:30 – 3:00 — Honoring and Continuing the Work of Michael Mello
Michael Radelet, Eric Freedman, Karen Gottlieb

3:00 – 4:00 — Roundtable Discussion
This roundtable will present an opportunity to discuss topics more in-depth in an open forum.

4:15 – 5:30 — Cocktail Reception in Yates

Please feel free to contact us at symposium@lists.vermontlaw.edu with any questions.

Participants

Hugo Adam Bedau, Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Tufts University

Hugo Adam Bedau, Ph.D. (Harvard, 1961) is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He is best known for his long-standing interest in issues having to do with punishment, the death penalty in particular. He edited the standard work on capital punishment, The Death Penalty in America (1st edition, 1964; 4th edition, 1997), and co-edited Capital Punishment in the United States (1976) and Debating the Death Penalty (2004). He is the author of The Courts, the Constitution, and Capital Punishment (1977), Death is Different (1987), and Killing as Punishment (2004), and co-author of In Spite of Innocence (1992). In 1997, Bedau received the August Vollmer Award of the American Society of Criminology, and in 2003 he received the Roger Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Massachusetts. A long-time (and founding) member of the National Coalition Against the Death Penalty, he has served on its board and as its chairman; he is currently on the board of the Capital Punishment Research Initiative in Albany, New York.


Eric M. Freedman, Hofstra University School of Law

Eric M. Freedman is the Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at Hofstra Law School. Professor Freedman serves as the Reporter for the American Bar Association’s Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases (2d ed., 2003). He is the author of HABEAS CORPUS: RETHINKING THE GREAT WRIT OF LIBERTY (NYU Press 2002), and numerous articles for scholarly and general publications concerning capital punishment, habeas corpus and related subjects. He is also active nationally as a litigator in these fields. In 2004, the American Association on Mental Retardation presented Professor Freedman with its Dybwad Humanitarian Award for his efforts on behalf of Earl Washington, Jr., a mentally retarded black man who was the first person ever released from Death Row in Virginia on the grounds of innocence. A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Professor Freedman holds a Master’s Degree in History from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Capital Punishment Research Initiative of the University at Albany.


Sean O’Brien, Associate Professor of Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

Sean O’Brien is an associate professor at UMKC Law School, where he teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Postconviction Remedies and a death penalty rclinic. He has represented people in capital trial, appeal and post-conviction cases since 1983. His noteworthy cases include Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298 (1995), preserving habeas jurisdiction for prisoners who are actually innocent, Stewart v. Martinez-Villareal, 523 U.S. 637 (1998), preserving habeas jurisdiction over claims of incompetence for execution, and Amrine v. Roper, 102 S.W.3d 541 (Mo. 2003), creating the right to habeas corpus relief based on freestanding claims of innocence. Professor O’Brien has served as the Jackson County Public Defender and is a past President of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has received numerous awards for his work on behalf of indigent prisoners, including the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2005), the Jackson County Record Legal Leaders Award (2005), Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly Lawyer of the Year (2003). In 2005, Professor O’Brien was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Benedictine College for his work on behalf of poor people on death row.


Michael L. Radelet, Professor, University of Colorado – Boulder

Miachel Radelet is Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado-Boulder. Radelet’s research focuses on capital punishment, especially the problems of erroneous convictions, racial bias, public opinion, and medical involvement. In 1987 he coauthored (with Hugo Adam Bedau) a paper in Stanford Law Review that documented some 350 defendants who were erroneously convicted of potentially capital crimes, a paper that is widely credited with introducing the problem of erroneous convictions into the modern death penalty debate. Among his studies on race and death sentencing was one in Illinois, conducted for Governor George Ryan and used by Governor Ryan as part of the rationale for commuting 167 death sentences in 2003. More recently, Radelet has coauthored (with Glenn Pierce) a series of statewide studies on race and death sentencing for the Death Penalty Moratorium Project, American Bar Association. While in Florida Radelet worked with scores of death row inmates, and went through last visits with approximately 50. He has testified in 75 death penalty cases and in front of legislative committees in a dozen states. He also works closely with families of homicide victims. He received his undergraduate degree Michigan State, his Ph.D. from Purdue, and completed two years of postdoctoral training in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin Medical School. He then served for 22 years on the faculty at the University of Florida. He has served as Chair of the Sociology Departments at Florida (1996-2001) and Colorado (2004-2009).


Deborah W. Denno, Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law

Deborah W. Denno is the Arthur A. McGivney Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law. Professor Denno’s research has focused on topics relating to criminal law, criminal procedure, social sciences and the law, and the death penalty. In the Supreme Court’s recent lethal injection decision, Baze v. Rees, 128 S. Ct. 1520 (2008), Chief Justice Roberts’ plurality opinion and the concurring opinions of Justices Stevens, Breyer, and Alito together cited four separate articles by Professor Denno. Professor Denno has also initiated cutting-edge examinations of criminal law defenses pertaining to insanity, rape law, gender differences, consciousness, biological and genetic links to crime, drug offenses, jury decision-making, and the impact of lead poisoning. Currently she is working on a book-length project analyzing the neuroscientific correlates of criminal intent and conduct. In 2007, the National Law Journal selected Professor Denno as one of its “Fifty Most Influential Women Lawyers in America.” Professor Denno earned her law degree and Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Fordham faculty, she served as a law clerk to Judge Anthony Scirica of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and as an associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett.


Karen M. Gottlieb

Karen M. Gottlieb was an Assistant Public Defender in the Appellate Division of the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office from 1975 until 1989, during which time she represented both capital defendants and other defendants in appeals and post-conviction proceedings in state and federal courts. Ms. Gottlieb is the former Chair of the Florida Public Defenders’ Capital Litigation Steering Committee and has lectured on effective appellate advocacy and various death-penalty topics for the American Civil Liberties Union, the Florida Public Defenders’ Association, The Florida Bar, the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges, the South Carolina Bar Association, the Dade County Bar Association, and the St. Thomas Law Review Symposium. She has also authored chapters in the Florida Public Defender’s Death Penalty Manual and The Florida Bar’s Florida Appellate Practice treatise. Ms. Gottlieb worked with Millard Farmer, Margie Pitts Hames and Ramsey Clark in a final attempt to stay the execution of John Spenkelink, whose execution was the first non-consensual execution in the United States following the Supreme Court’s decision in Furman v. Georgia. Since leaving the Public Defender’s Office, Ms. Gottlieb has continued her criminal-defense appellate work and pro bono capital work as a solo practitioner. She is a recipient of the ACLU’s Nelson Poynter Civil Liberties Award for her death-penalty work. Ms. Gottlieb is a member of the Rosemary Barkett Inn of Court.


Mark E. Olive

Mark E. Olive’s national practice of law focuses on death penalty defense litigation, educating lawyers, judges, and law students about capital punishment and habeas corpus practice, and consulting with and helping capital defense teams provide quality representation for the neediest of clients. Some of Mark’s cases include: Fleming v. Zant, 386 S.E.2d 339 (Ga. 1989), where the Georgia Supreme Court found that the execution of persons who suffer from mental retardation violated the Geogia Constitution; Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), a case where the United States Supreme Court found that such executions violated the Eighth Amendment; Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993), a Texas case where a majority of the Supreme Court agreed that the execution of an innocent person would violate the Eighth Amendment; Williams v. Dixon, 961 F.2d 448 (4th Cir 1992), where the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that North Carolina’s capital jury instruction violated the Eighth Amendment; and Maas v. Olive, 992 So.3d 196 (Fla. 2008), Olive v. Maas, 811 So.2d 644 (Fla 2002), where the Florida Supreme Court invalidated fee caps in capital cases. Mark was the Director of the first Capital Resource Center in the country, opened in Florida in 1985, which provided assistance to pro bono attorneys (and provided direct representation) in capital cases. He was later the Director of both the Georgia and Virginia Resource Centers. He regularly teaches a Death Penalty and the Supreme Court seminar at the University of North Carolina College of Law in Chapel Hill. Mark was awarded the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Life in the Balance Achievement Award in 2003. Mark hired Michael Mello for death penalty defense work in 1985.


David Sellwood

David Sellwood is the Project Coordinator of Reprieve’s European Commission Project, identifying and assisting European and other foreign nationals facing the death penalty in the US. Prior to joining Reprieve, David worked as a Human Rights Adviser within Consular Directorate at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. During his time there, he advised the British government on international human rights law and minimum standards that apply to British nationals overseas, mainly in the areas of the death penalty; fair trials; prisoners’ rights; and miscarriages of justice. David previously worked as a caseworker at the Refugee Legal Centre, preparing and presenting refugee and human rights cases. He has also been a caseworker in private practice, again focusing on refugee and human rights cases.


Stephanie Farrior

Stephanie Farrior is a prominent academic and activist in the field of international human rights. She is former Legal Director and general counsel of Amnesty International, the worldwide human rights organization. Based at its International Secretariat in London, she oversaw Amnesty International’s legal work during the Pinochet extradition hearings, met with then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on a range of issues, and worked closely with numerous United Nations human rights bodies. Professor Farrior’s scholarly research focuses on the role and functioning of international organizations in protecting human rights, issues relating to identity-based discrimination, and state accountability for human rights abuses by non-state actors. Her work has been published in Harvard, Columbia, and Berkeley law journals and has been cited by several UN special experts in their studies and reports to the United Nations. She is also actively engaged in writing and teaching about the use of international human rights standards in advocacy for racial and economic justice in the United States, a subject on which the NAACP invited her to speak at its 2004 Annual Convention.


Phillip Meyer

Phillip Meyer is an award winning writer and teacher who received his BA from Brandeis University, his MFA from The Writer’s Workshop of the University of Iowa, and his JD from Vermont Law School. After clerking in the Office of the Vermont Defender General in Montpelier, he served as an instructor of legal writing at Vermont Law School from 1980 to 1981. He then served as an attorney with the firm of Slavitt, Connery and Vardamis in Norwalk, Connecticut, and as an instructor in the Legal Skills and Civil Legal Clinic of the University of Bridgeport School of Law. In 1985, he received his LLM from Columbia University. From 1986 to 1987, he served as an instructor of legal writing and lawyering skills at the New York University School of Law and was coordinator of the lawyering program from 1987 to 1988. Professor Meyer served as assistant professor of law and director of legal writing at the University of Connecticut School of Law from 1988 to 1991 and was awarded a citation for teaching excellence. After serving as an adjunct professor at the City University of New York School of Law from 1991 to 1992, he rejoined the VLS faculty in 1992. Professor Meyer has served as program chair of the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research and as chair and program chair of the Section of Law and Humanities. He has also served as the Vermont Law School delegate to the AALS House of Delegates. He served as associate editor of Legal Studies Forum from 1996 to 1998.


Sandra Babcock

Sandra Babcock is a clinical professor of law and the clinical director of the Center for International Human Rights. She specializes in international human rights litigation, access to justice, death penalty defense, and the application of international law in U.S. courts. In her clinical teaching, she works with students in a wide variety of cases and projects, including the representation of Mexican nationals on death row, the representation of a detainee at Guantanamo, fieldwork designed to alleviate overcrowding in Malawian prisons, documentation of atrocities for the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, advocacy surrounding the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the development of international standards regarding the application of the death penalty worldwide. Professor Babcock began her career as a staff attorney at the Texas Resource Center, a non-profit dedicated to defending men and women facing the death penalty in Texas. She later spent five years working as a trial-level public defender in Minnesota before launching a private practice in international human rights and criminal law. From 2000-2006 she served as director of the Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program, a program funded by the Mexican Foreign Ministry to assist Mexican nationals facing capital punishment in the United States. For her work, she was awarded the Aguila Azteca, the highest honor bestowed by the government of Mexico upon citizens of foreign countries, in 2003.


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