Press Release: News Release April 2003: Death penalty symposium slated:

State Bar of Wisconsin

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    News Release April 2003: Death penalty symposium slated

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    For Immediate Release
      CONTACT: Christi Powers
    State Bar of Wisconsin
    (800) 444-9404, ext. 6025 org cpowers wisbar wisbar cpowers org

    Death penalty symposium slated

    MADISON, April 25, 2003 - The State Bar of Wisconsin's Criminal Law Section is co-sponsoring a death penalty symposium on Monday, April 28 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater. Free and open to the public, the event features a panel of speakers addressing issues on the death penalty. Wisconsin has not had the death penalty since 1853 but there is now proposed legislation to reinstate it.

    Media Advisory

    EVENT: Pre-symposium session media session

    RE: Proposed Reinstatement of the Death Penalty in Wisconsin -- A presentation co-sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin & the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School

    WHO: Former Governor George Ryan, R-Illinois
    Prof. Larry Marshall, Northwestern University Law School

    DATE/TIME: Monday, April 28, 2003 - 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.*

    LOCATION: University of Wisconsin Law School - Room 7200
    975 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI 53706

    *Notify Keith Findley 608-262-4763 - edu kafindle wisc wisc kafindle edu if you plan to attend

    "The Wisconsin legislature is considering whether to create a death penalty system for the first time in 150 years," said Atty. Keith Findley, University of Wisconsin Law School, who organized the event. "The proposal comes despite scores of exonerated men and women who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death."

    Nationally, the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Since then 107 people in 25 states were released from death row after being found innocent. Further controversy stems from the introduction of DNA testing in death penalty cases because since 1989 a total of 127 people who had been sentenced to death were found innocent as the result of post-conviction DNA testing.

    Co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Innocence Project of the Frank J. Remington Center, UW-Law School and the State Bar's Criminal Law Section, the speakers include:

    • Former Governor George Ryan, R-Illinois, a previous proponent of the death penalty, who recently commuted the sentences of all 167 people on death row in Illinois
    • Professor Larry Marshall, Northwestern University School of Law, who is a national leader in exonerating the innocent, and was instrumental in Governor Ryan's decision
    • Christopher Ochoa, who spent 12 years in a Texas prison for a rape and murder he did not commit. He was released from prison in 2001 after the Wisconsin Innocence Project successfully obtained DNA testing that proved him innocent
    • Jeanette Popp, the mother of murder victim Nancy DePriest who was the victim in the Christopher Ochoa case

    "Former Governor Ryan and Professor Marshall are two of the most important figures in the current debate on capital punishment," Findley said. "Also, Christopher Ochoa and Jeannette Popp will offer unique and compelling insights on how a death penalty system can result in miscarriages of justice for defendants and victims alike."

    The State Bar of Wisconsin is the mandatory professional association, created by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, for attorneys who hold a law license in Wisconsin. With more than 20,000 members, the State Bar aids the courts in improving the administration of justice, provides continuing legal education for its members, and assists Wisconsin lawyers in carrying out initiatives to educate the public about the legal system.