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Capital Punishment Stories:
Perspectives and Retrospectives on Landmark Death Penalty Cases


Panelists/Authors

David C. Baldus
Hugo Bedau
John H. Blume
John "Jack" Boger
David I. Bruck
Deborah W. Denno
David R. Dow
James Ellis
Joseph L. Hoffman
Sheri Lynn Johnson
Jim Marcus
Robert C. Owen
Charles A. Pulaski, Jr.
Austin Sarat
Carol Steiker
Jordan Steiker
George G. Woodworth



David C. Baldus

David C. Baldus is the Joseph B. Tye Professor at the University of Iowa College of Law. Prior to his professorship, he was in private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Baldus' scholarship focuses on law and social science, and he has conducted several empirical studies of the administration of the death penalty in America. Baldus is the co-author of two books, Statistical Proof of Discrimination (Shepards-McGraw Hill, 1980) (with James W. L. Cole) and Equal Justice and the Death Penalty (Northeastern University Press, 1990) (with Charles A. Pulaski, Jr. and George G. Woodworth), and the author of numerous articles, including "Race Discrimination and the Legitimacy of Capital Punishment: Reflections on the Interaction of Fact and Perception," 53 DePaul Law Review 1411 (2004) (with George G. Woodworth). He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and his J.D. and LL.M from Yale Law School.

Hugo Bedau

Hugo Bedau is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Tufts University. He joined the Tufts faculty in 1966 and retired in 1999. He is best known for his long-standing interest in issues having to do with punishment in general and the death penalty in particular. Bedau is the co-editor of Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment (Oxford University Press, 2005) (with Paul Cassell). In addition, Bedau has written a number of other books on political philosophy and on capital punishment, including Death is Different: Studies in the Morality, Law, and Politics of Capital Punishment (Northeastern University Press, 1987) and Killing as Punishment: Reflections on the Death Penalty in America (Northeastern University Press, 2004), and he edited The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies, 4 th Ed. (Oxford University Press, 1998). He has frequently testified about the death penalty before the U.S. Congress and many state legislatures. Bedau received his B.A. from the University of Redlands, his M.A. from Boston University, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

John H. Blume

John H. Blume is an associate professor of law at Cornell Law School and director of the Cornell Death Penalty Project, which he formed with Sheri Lynn Johnson and Stephen Garvey. Previously, Blume was executive director of the South Carolina Death Penalty Project. Blume has written numerous articles, including "AEDPA, The 'Hype' and the 'Bite,'" 91 Cornell Law Review 259 (2006); "Reliability Matters: Reassociating Bagley Materiality, Strickland Prejudice, and Cumulative Harmless Error," 95 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 1153 (2006) (with Christopher Seeds); "Killing the Willing: 'Volunteers,' Suicide and Competency," 103 Michigan Law Review 939 (2005); and "Explaining Death Row's Size and Racial Composition," 1 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 165 (2004) (with Theodore Eisenberg and Martin Wells). He also wrote "Lessons from the Capital Jury Project" in Beyond Repair?: America's Death Penalty, ed. Stephen Garvey (Duke University Press, 2003). He received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina, his M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

John "Jack" Boger (not in attendance)

John "Jack" Boger is Dean of the University of North Carolina School of Law. In 1978, Boger joined the staff of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he litigated capital punishment cases for a decade, becoming the director of the LDF's Capital Punishment Project in 1983. In 1987, he became director of a poverty and justice program at LDF established to enlarge the legal rights of the minority poor. He has co-edited several books, including School Resegregation: Must the South Turn Back? (UNC Press, 2005) (with G. Orfield) and Race, Poverty and American Cities (UNC Press, 1996) (with Judith Wegner), and is the author of "Forward: Acts of Clemency: The Words and Deeds of Governor George Ryan," 82 North Carolina Law Review 1279 (2004). He received his A.B. from Duke University, his M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

David I. Bruck

David I. Bruck is a clinical professor of law, director of the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, and Law Alumni Association Fellow in Teaching at Washington and Lee University School of Law. He has successfully argued six death penalty cases in the United States Supreme Court, including Skipper v. South Carolina (1986) and Simmons v. South Carolina (1994), and has handled more than 60 capital appeals in state and lower federal courts. He has represented capital defendants at trial in more than 15 cases, including State v. Susan Smith, in which he and co-counsel Judy Clarke obtained a life sentence after their client was convicted of drowning her two small children. In addition, Bruck has served as Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel to the Federal Public Defender System. He received his B.A. from Harvard, and his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Deborah W. Denno

Deborah W. Denno is the Arthur A. McGivney Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law. She is the author of "Lethally Humane? The Evolution of Execution Methods in the United States," in America's Experiment with Capital Punishment: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Ultimate Penal Sanction, eds. James Acker, Robert Bohm, & Charles Lanier (Carolina Academic Press, 2d ed., 2003). She has also published several books, including Biology and Violence: From Birth to Adulthood (Cambridge University Press, 1990) and Biological, Psychological, and Environmental Factors in Delinquency and Mental Disorder: An Interdisciplinary Bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1985) (with Ruth Schwartz). She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia, her M.A. from the University of Toronto, and her Ph.D. and J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

David R. Dow

David R. Dow is a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, and is currently a visiting professor of history at Rice University. He is also the litigation director for the Texas Defender Service, and is director of the Texas Innocence Network. He teaches in the areas of constitutional law and theory, contracts, death penalty, federal jurisdiction, jurisprudence, and law and literature. He has written several books, including Executed on a Technicality: Legal Injustice on America's Death Row (Beacon, 2005) and Machinery of Death: The Reality of America's Death Penalty Regime (Routledge, 2002) (with Mark Dow). His publications also include "Erroneous Convictions" in Ethics, Revised Edition (Salem Press, 2005); "The Extraordinary Execution of Vickers, the Banality of Death, and the Demise of Post-Conviction Review," 13 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 521 (2005) (with Marcus, Moon, Tyler and Wiercioch); and "Invisible Executions: A Preliminary Analysis of Publication Rates in Death Penalty Cases in Selected Jurisdictions," 8 Texas Forum on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights 149 (2003) (with B. McNeese). He received his B.A. from Rice University, his M.A. from Yale University, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

James Ellis (not in attendance)

James W. Ellis is a professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law. He works on behalf of people with mental disabilities in the civil and criminal justice system. Ellis has filed briefs in 18 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and recently argued Atkins v. Virginia (2002), in which the Court held that executing individuals with mental retardation violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. He teaches Constitutional Rights, Introduction to Constitutional Law, Rights of Children, Mental Health and Mental Retardation Law, and Mental Disability in Criminal Cases, and has written extensively on mental health, mental retardation, and the criminal justice system. Ellis has served as a law reporter for the A.B.A. Criminal Justice Standards project and president of the American Association on Mental Retardation. Ellis received his A.B. from Occidental College, and his J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Joseph L. Hoffman

Joseph L. Hoffman is Acting Executive Associate Dean and Harry Pratter Professor of Law at the Indiana University School of Law. Hoffman's teaching and research interests include criminal law and procedure, and he has written extensively about habeas corpus and federal criminal law. His recent publications include "Rehnquist and Federal Habeas Corpus" in The Rehnquist Legacy, ed. Craig Bradley (Cambridge University Press, 2005); "Substantive Appellate Review in Capital Cases," 80 Indiana Law Journal 91 (2005); and "Revenge or Mercy? Some Thoughts About Survivor Opinion Evidence in Death Penalty Cases," 88 Cornell Law Review 530 (2003). Hoffman authored the historic Illinois death-penalty legislation, the Fundamental Justice Amendment, to correct the state's famously flawed capital punishment system. The amendment, enacted in 2004, gives the Illinois Supreme Court the power to reverse any death sentence that it deems fundamentally unjust. He earned his B.A. from Harvard College , and his J.D. from the University of Washington.

Sheri Lynn Johnson (not in attendance)

Sheri Lynn Johnson is a professor at the Cornell School of Law and assistant director of the Cornell Death Penalty Project. She is an expert on the interface of race and issues in criminal procedure. Her publications include "Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital Sentencing Outcomes," 17 Psychological Science 1101 (2006) (with Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Paul G. Davies, and Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns); "Wishing Petitioners to Death: Factual Misrepresentation in Fourth Circuit Capital Cases," 91 Cornell Law Review 1106 (2006); " Future Dangerousness in Capital Cases: Always 'At Issue,'" 86 Cornell Law Review 397 (2001) (with John H. Blume and Stephen P. Garvey); and " Racial Imagery in Criminal Cases," 67 Tulane Law Review 1739 (1993). In several recent articles, see, e.g., "Killing the Non-Willing: Atkins, the Volitionally Incapacitated and the Death Penalty," 55 South Carolina Law Review 93 (2003) (with John H. Blume), Johnson has written about the Supreme Court's proportionality decisions. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A., and received her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Jim Marcus

Jim Marcus is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law and teaches in the Law School's Capital Punishment Clinic. He also trains and supports capital habeas counsel in Texas cases, lectures in capital defense seminars across the nation. Marcus has represented death-sentenced clients at every level of state and federal habeas corpus proceedings since 1993, first with the Texas Resource Center and then with Texas Defender Service, a non-profit capital defense organization that he helped found. Before joining the law faculty, he served as the executive director of Texas Defender Service. He is a graduate of the University of Texas Plan II Honors Program and the University of Houston Law Center.

Robert C. Owen

Robert C. Owen, a clinical professor at the University of Texas School of Law, is director of the Law School's Capital Punishment Clinic and co-director of its Capital Punishment Center. Owen has defended people facing the death penalty since 1989 at every level of the state and federal court system, including arguing successfully at the United States Supreme Court (Tennard v. Dretke (2004), Abdul-Kabir v. Quarterman (2007), and Brewer v. Quarterman (2007)).  He has taught at the Law School since 1998. After spending six years as an attorney with the Texas Resource Center in Austin, he served for three years as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Seattle, Washington before entering private practice in Austin. He received his A.B. and M.A. from the University of Georgia, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Charles A. Pulaski, Jr. (not in attendance)

Charles A. Pulaski, Jr. is an attorney with Snell & Wilmer, L.L.P. in Phoenix, Arizona. He was named Southwest Super Lawyer by Law in Politics Magazine in 2007, and he is a co-recipient of the 1987 Harvey Kalven Prize by the Law and Society Association. He is a co-author of Equal Justice and the Death Penalty (Northeastern University Press, 1990) (with David C. Baldus and George G. Woodworth) and "Comparative Review of Death Sentences: An Empirical Study of the Georgia Experience," The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1983) (with David C. Baldus and George G. Woodworth). He received his B.A. in Economics from Yale College, and his LL.B from Yale Law School.

Austin Sarat (not in attendance)

Austin Sarat is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. He is the General Editor of the International Library of Essays in Law and Society, and is a member of the Program Advisory Board of the Feinberg Institute for the Comparative Study of Human Value and Public Life at the University of Massachusetts. He co-edited From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race and the Death Penalty in America (NYU Press, 2006) (with Charles J. Ogletree, Jr.) and The Cultural Lives of Capital Punishment (Stanford University Press, 2005) (with Christian Boulanger). His written works include When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition (Princeton University Press, 2001). He received his B.A. in Political Science from Providence College, his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

Carol Steiker

Carol Steiker is the Howard J. and Katherine W. Aibel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She is also the Special Advisor for Public Service and Faculty Associate for the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. Steiker's research interests include capital punishment, criminal law, and criminal procedure. She has written a number of articles about the death penalty, including "A Tale of Two Nations: Implementation of the Death Penalty in 'Executing' Versus 'Symbolic' States in the United States," 84 Texas Law Review 1869 (2006) (with Jordan Steiker ); "Capital Punishment and American Exceptionalism" in American Exceptionalism and Human Rights, ed. Michael Ignatieff (Princeton University Press, 2005); and "The Seduction of Innocence: The Attraction and Limitations of the Focus on Innocence in Capital Punishment Law and Advocacy," 95 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 587 (2005) (with Jordan Steiker). She is also the author of "No, Capital Punishment is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty," 58 Stanford Law Review 751 (2005) and "Tempering or Tampering? Mercy and the Administration of Criminal Justice," in Forgiveness, Mercy and Clemency, ed. Austin Sarat ( Stanford University Press, 2006). She earned her A.B. from Harvard-Radcliffe, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Jordan Steiker

Jordan Steiker is the Cooper K. Ragan Regents Professor at the University of Texas School of Law and co-director of the Law School's Capital Punishment Center. Steiker has written extensively on constitutional law, federal habeas corpus, and the death penalty. His publications include "A Tale of Two Nations: Implementation of the Death Penalty in 'Executing' Versus 'Symbolic' States in the United States," 84 Texas Law Review 1869 (2006) (with Carol Steiker); "The Seduction of Innocence: The Attraction and Limitations of the Focus on Innocence in Capital Punishment Law and Advocacy," 95 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 587 (2005) (with Carol Steiker); " The Shadow of Death: The Effect of Capital Punishment on American Criminal Law and Policy," 89 Judicature 250 (March-April 2006) (with Carol Steiker); " Sober Second Thoughts: Reflections on Two Decades of Constitutional Regulation of Capital Punishment," 109 Harvard Law Review 335 (1995) (with Carol Steiker); "Habeas Exceptionalism," 78 Texas Law Review 1703 (2000); and "Restructuring Post-Conviction Review of Federal Claims Raised by State Prisoners: Confronting the New Face of Excessive Proceduralism," 1998 University of Chicago Legal Forum 315 (1998). Steiker received his B.A. from Wesleyan University, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

George G. Woodworth (not in attendance)

George G. Woodworth is a professor in the University of Iowa's Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. His research interests include law and justice statistics, multivariate analysis, and statistical computing. His published works include Biostatistics: A Bayesian Introduction (Wiley-Interscience, 2004) and Equal Justice and the Death Penalty: A Legal and Empirical Analysis (Northeastern University Press, 1990) (with David C. Baldus and Charles A. Pulaski, Jr.). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and is a Fellow in the American Statistical Association.

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For more information please contact:



Professor Jordan Steiker, Co-Director
Capital Punishment Center
The University of Texas School of Law
727 East Dean Keeton St.
Austin, Texas 78705
(512) 232-1346
jsteiker@law.utexas.edu