UCO's American Democracy Project Hosts Death Penalty Debate, Expert on Wrongful Convictions

April 1, 2014

Media Contact: Lindsay Houts, Staff Writer, UCO University Relations, 405-974-2121, lhouts@uco.edu

(Editor’s Note: Guest speaker Rob Warden will be available for in-person interviews on April 12 in advance of the event or phone interviews prior to that date. Students and faculty involved with the debate are also available for interviews days before and the day of the event. Contact UCO University Relations for arrangements.)

UCO’S AMERICAN DEMOCRACY PROJECT HOSTS DEATH PENALTY DEBATE, EXPERT ON WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS

The University of Central Oklahoma’s American Democracy Project (ADP) will host a debate on the death penalty in Oklahoma at 4:30 p.m. April 12 in the Nigh University Center’s (NUC) Constitution Hall on Central’s campus.

Free and open to the public, the debate will examine the Oklahoma Justice Commission’s call for reforms to the criminal justice system, whether or not those reforms make the death penalty more legitimate in the eyes of the public and the abolishment of the death penalty.

The debate comes at a time when the constitutionality of the state’s execution laws is at issue, potentially delaying lethal injections for inmates currently on Oklahoma’s death row.

A banquet hosted by the ADP and the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty featuring a guest speaker Rob Warden, executive director and co-founder of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, will immediately follow the debate at 6 p.m. in NUC Ballrooms A and B.

While working as editor and publisher of Chicago Lawyer, Warden identified more than 20 wrongful convictions in Illinois including cases in which six innocent men had been sentenced to death. There are 24 known exonerations in Oklahoma history, including 10 in which the convicted was sentenced to death.

“In 2013, the Oklahoma Justice Commission released a report recommending numerous sweeping reforms to the state’s criminal justice system in stopping wrongful convictions, but no legislation to date has enacted those reforms,” said Joe Tripodi, J.D., lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Central.

“Rob Warden will speak about the wrongfully convicted, needed reforms, why Illinois abolished the death penalty and options we may have in Oklahoma. We hope that the debate and Rob Warden's speech will raise public and political awareness to get the commission's recommended reforms enacted.”

Tickets to the banquet are $15 for students and $50 for non-students. For reservations, call 405-948-1645 or visit okcadp.org. For more information about the ADP, visit www.uco.edu/adp.

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Editor’s Note: To download art associated with this release, visit www.uco.edu/photo/Warden03.14.

Cutline: UCO’s American Democracy Project will host a debate on the death penalty in Oklahoma at 4:30 p.m. April 12 in the Nigh University Center’s (NUC) Constitution Hall on Central’s campus. Rob Warden, executive director and co-founder of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, will serve as the guest speaker at a banquet immediately following the debate in NUC Ballrooms A and B. For tickets, call 405-948-1645 or visit okcadp.org.