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Annual Speaker Series: Stephen B. Bright

October 10, 2021 – 7pm

Join us for a conversation with Yale law professor, Stephen B. Bright. He has built a national reputation representing people facing the death penalty, advocating for the right to counsel for poor people accused of crimes, and challenging inhumane practices and conditions in prisons and jails.

More About the Event

As with everything that happened during the pandemic, last year we were forced to postpone our Annual Speaker event. This year we are picking up where we left off. We are very fortunate to welcome Stephen Bright, the Harvey L. Karp Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, to First Pres on Sunday, October 10th at 7:00pm. Mr. Bright has been critical force in the criminal justice system and has dedicated his legal career to helping those facing the death penalty.

Mr. Bright has successfully argued before the Supreme Court three times with the justices finding in his favor on each occasion. However, Mr. Bright’s most enduring legacy is as the founder and director the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta from 1982 to 2005, and as its president and senior counsel from 2006 to 2016. The Center’s legal work includes representing prisoners in challenges to unconstitutional conditions and practices in prisons and jails; challenging systemic failures in the legal representation of poor people in the criminal courts; and representing people facing the death penalty who otherwise would have no representation.

The theme for our evening is Finding Life on Death Row. You will hear stories from Mr. Bright about defendants he has represented and how many have gone on to become productive members of society. Mr. Bright will also discuss how race and poverty play an important role in how capital punishment cases are investigated and prosecuted. A vivid storyteller and scholar of Civil Rights history, Mr. Bright will illuminate the humanity of one of darkest corners of our criminal justice system.

This is an evening you won’t want to miss! Make sure to RSVP on our website as space will be limited. Also, in preparation for the evening, you may want to read Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014), Anthony Ray Hinton’s The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row (2018) or Marc Bookman’s A Descending Spiral: Exposing the Death Penalty in 12 Essays (2021). Even if you can’t get to the reading list, we hope you can make time for what will certainly be an amazing discussion.


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