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OCTOBER 8, 2003
3:37 PM
CONTACT: National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty 
Randy Tatel 615-329-0048
David Elliot 202-543-9577, ext. 16
National Anti-Death Penalty Conference To Convene Oct. 16-19 In Nashville, Tennessee

WASHINGTON - October 8 - The annual conference of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will kick off the evening of Thursday, Oct. 16 with a panel discussion that will examine the status of the death penalty in Tennessee.

Co-hosted by NCADP's state affiliate, the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing, the conference will feature four days of workshops, keynote speeches, author signings, artistic performances and a Friday afternoon rally in front of the Tennessee state capitol. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Downtown Nashville.

Brian Roberts, NCADP executive director, said Tennessee is a logical state to host the national conference because it reflects the growing national debate over the death penalty. "Many people who end up on Tennessee's death row get there because of ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct or because of convictions based on the perjured testimony of a jailhouse informant," Roberts said."These are problems that are currently being addressed in Illinois and in other states, and need to be discussed and debated in Tennessee as well.

Highlights of the conference include:

****An opening panel discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday that will challenge the notion that Tennessee's death penalty system is any less flawed than those in states such as Illinois and Florida. Panelists include former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Penny White, NAACP-Nashville President Rev. Sonnye Dixon and Mary Ann Hea, a board member of the Tennessee chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

****A Friday afternoon rally at 3:30 p.m. in front of the state capitol. Speakers will include prominent leaders of national anti-death penalty organizations, including NCADP's Brian Roberts.

****A Friday evening performance by The Healing Stage entitled,"Last Words: Resurrecting Our Nation's Executed." This national production company is visiting Nashville in conjunction with NCADP's annual conference.

****Workshops Friday and Saturday dealing with such topics as death row survivors, the moratorium movement, mentally ill people on death row, and John Ashcroft and the efforts to expand the federal death penalty.


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