- 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.