Capital punishment in the United States and the moral and legal questions it engenders will be topics at a conference that will bring prominent lawyers, scholars, and activists to UCSB on April 25 and 26.
"Executing Justice: America and the Death Penalty" will feature keynote speeches by Thomas P. Sullivan, co-chair of the Illinois Commission on the Death Penalty, and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a former professional boxer who spent 22 years in the New Jersey prison system on a murder conviction that was later invalidated.
The Illinois commission's findings led then- Gov. George Ryan to take all 167 inmates off the state's death row earlier this year, pardoning four and commuting the sentences of the others from death to life in prison.
The conference sessions will be held in the McCune Conference Room (Room 6020) of the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, and other venues. While open to the public, seats are limited. Admission is $10 and covers all sessions.
Schedule and registration information are available on the Web site of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC) www.ihc.ucsb.edu/justice/index.html and at (805) 893-3907.In addition to speaking at the conference, Carter will attend a showing of the movie "Hurricane," a fictionalized account of his life starring Denzel Washington, at 7:30 p.m. on April 26 in Isla Vista Theater. Carter is expected to comment on the movie and to sign copies of his autobiography, "The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender to #45472," and other books. Tickets, not included in the cost of the conference, are $5 for students and $6 for all others.
The conference opens with a panel discussion of "Technologies of Crime and Punishment" on April 25, followed by Sullivan's keynote address at 4 p.m.
The next day's agenda, which begins at 9:15 a.m., includes panels titled "The Last Word: Dialogues with Death Row," "Discipline and Disciplinarity: the Death Penalty Out of Bounds," and "The Future of the Death Penalty: Resistance and Reform." Carter's keynote address will be in Embarcadero Hall in I.V. at 4 p.m.
"Executing Justice: America and the Death Penalty" is part of a winter and spring quarters series that examines capital punishment. Dick Hebdige, IHC director, and Juliet Williams, assistant professor of law and society, organized the series, which has included lectures, classes, films, and a debate. It is supported by a "Critical Issues in America" grant from a private donor, with the Law and Society Program providing additional support.
The series concludes on May 16 with an 8 p.m. lecture in Campbell Hall by Sister Helen Prejean, author of "Dead Man Walking." Tickets for that event are $8 for students, $10 for others.