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The Land of the Free and the Home of the Death Penalty
The death penalty is out-lawed in more than 70% of the world’s countries, yet the United States still wears this global badge of shame. In 2020 we ranked 6th in state-sanctioned killings, behind only China, Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Why is this primitive practice so intractable in the U.S.? And what does the future hold? Marc Bookman, one of America’s leading death penalty abolitionists, describes a dozen harrowing cases in his book "A Descending Spiral: Exposing the Death Penalty in 12 Essays." He’s joined in conversation by two others who have first-hand knowledge of America’s ‘injustice system’ -- Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who in 2019 asked the PA Supreme Court to declare the death penalty unconstitutional and whose new book is "For the People: A Story of Justice and Power," and Christina Swarns, executive director of The Innocence Project. Moderated by Josie Duffy Rice, president of "The Appeal."

This program is presented in partnership with Brooklyn Public Library's Justice Initiatives.

Jun 17, 2021 06:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Marc Bookman
Marc Bookman is the Executive Director of the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation, a nonprofit that provides services for those facing possible execution. Before that he spent many years in the Homicide Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. He has published essays in The Atlantic, Mother Jones, VICE, and Slate, He lives in Philadelphia. Photo by Sarah Miller.
Christina Swarns
Christina Swarns is the Executive Director of the Innocence Project, an organization that exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal legal system to prevent future injustice. She previously served as the President and Attorney-in-Charge of the Office of the Appellate Defender, Inc, as well as the Litigation Director for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and the Director of LDF’s Criminal Justice Project. While at LDF, Christina argued, and won, Buck v. Davis, a challenge to the introduction of explicitly racially biased evidence in a Texas death penalty case, in the United States Supreme Court. Christina was the only Black woman to argue in that Supreme Court term and is one of the few Black women to have argued before the nation’s highest court.
Larry Krasner
Larry Krasner is currently serving as the twenty-sixth district attorney of Philadelphia. Krasner worked as a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia for thirty years before being elected district attorney in 2017. Photo by Nina Subin