The University of Texas School of Law’s Capital Punishment Center will host a conference on legislative developments concerning the American death penalty on April 9-10. The event is free and open to the public.
“The American Death Penalty in the Twenty-first Century: the Direction of Legislative Change and the Prospects for Legislative Abolition” will bring together lawyers and lawmakers from around the country to talk about efforts to abolish the death penalty (New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Colorado, Kansas) as well as efforts to expand it (Georgia, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Hampshire) and reform it (North Carolina, Maryland, California).
The conference will be held in the Law School’s Eidman Courtroom, beginning at 10:15 a.m. on Friday, April 9 and at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 10. The entire program can be viewed in a news item posted on the Law School’s news Web site: www.utexas.edu/law/news/2010/040110_cpc_conference.html
State legislatures have been reevaluating the emotionally and politically charged issue of capital punishment. While national public opinion polls show broad support for the death penalty in the abstract, states like New Mexico and New Jersey have abolished capital punishment within the last three years, and other states have seen similar proposals closely contested and only narrowly defeated.
These new legislative battles over the death penalty reflect longstanding concerns: the financial cost of death penalty trials and appeals, the ever-present risk of wrongful conviction, the enduring stain of racial discrimination and more.
The symposium will explore this newly active legislative foment around capital punishment, closely examining the experience in particular states to see whether any broader lessons may be drawn with respect to the future of state legislative efforts to abolish, limit and reform the death penalty.
Information regarding directions and parking can be found on the Law School’s Web site.