The Edmond Sun

March 16, 2014

Anti-death penalty group, UCO debate team plan public debate

Special to The Sun

EDMOND — The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is inviting the public to join them for two special events scheduled for April 12 at the Nigh University Center on the University of Central Oklahoma campus.

A debate on “Why & How to Dismantle the Death Penalty” by the University of Central Oklahoma Debate Team will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Constitution Hall. The debate is free and open to the public.

Immediately following the debate will be the OK-CADP 23rd Annual Membership Meeting and Awards Dinner in Ballrooms A and B. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. with the dinner at 6 p.m.

The dinner’s keynote speaker will be Rob Warden, co-founder and executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago.

An award-winning legal affairs writer, Warden is the author of numerous articles and commentaries on criminal justice issues and of four books about miscarriages of justice including “A Promise of Justice” (Hyperion, 1998) and “True Stories of False Confessions” (forthcoming from Northwestern University Press in 2009).

After more than three decades as a journalist, investigative reporter, foreign correspondent, columnist, and editor at the Chicago Daily News and the editor and publisher of Chicago Lawyer, Warden joined with Northwestern University Law Professor Lawrence C. Marshall to start the Center on Wrongful Convictions in 1999.

Dedicated to identifying and rectifying wrongful convictions and other miscarriages of justice, the center has been instrumental in more than 30 exonerations. It also led the public education effort that culminated in Gov. George Ryan’s decision to grant clemency to all Illinois death row prisoners in 2003.

Warden has won more than 50 journalism awards, including the Medill School of Journalism’s John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism and two American Civil Liberties Union James McGuire Awards. In 2003 he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.

Warden also played an instrumental role in the creation of the National Registry for Exonerations. He will retire as director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions in August and become executive director emeritus of the center.

“We at the OK-CADP oppose the Death Penalty for variety of reasons, most notably on the basis of our understanding of morality,” said Adam Leathers, OK-CADP co-chairman. “The death penalty is an archaic and barbaric means of seeking vengeance and has nothing to do with justice or crime prevention. We also believe it is far more expensive than alternatives, despite popular belief, and it is overtly racist and works against the poor.”

Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is a grassroots membership organization working to end the death penalty in Oklahoma. The OK-CADP works with its members for alternatives to the death penalty that will reinvest the time, money and resources spent on trying to get a few people executed into effective crime prevention, support for survivors of homicide victims and solving cold cases.

Tickets to the annual dinner are $50 for adults and $15 for students. Deadline for reservations is April 1.

To purchase tickets, call 948-1645, email or register online at Checks can be sent to P.O. Box 713, Oklahoma City, 73101.