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Law Students Take Action Against Death Penalty

Law Students Take Nationwide Action Against The Death Penalty

Law students across the country are speaking out in opposition to the death penalty on March 1, 2006 as part of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Law Student Day Against the Death Penalty.

At least 32 law schools are participating in this national day of action and education. Participating students are organizing panel discussions, petition drives, protests, visits to death row and execution chambers, film series, and other activities to raise awareness and call for abolition.

The national day of action takes place amidst extraordinary death penalty-related news around the country:

· Last week, officials at San Quentin State Prison couldn't meet the demands of a federal judge who ordered licensed medical personnel to take part in the lethal injection of Michael Morales. This would violate medical ethics. The effect amounts to a moratorium in California, which has 650 death row inmates.

· Nationally, five inmates have had their executions put on hold since late January because of doubts surrounding lethal injection.

· On February 24, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction of death row inmate John Robert Ballard. Once his acquittal is confirmed, Ballard will be the 123rd person exonerated and freed from death row in the U.S. since 1973.

NLG Executive Director Heidi Boghosian states, “Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun got it right in his 1994 Callins v. Collins dissent, when he avowed to ‘no longer tinker with the machinery of death.’ The members of the current Supreme Court should follow in Blackmun’s footsteps and at long last declare the death penalty unconstitutional.”

Founded in 1937 as the first racially integrated national bar association, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. It has chapters in nearly every state and at 97 law schools.

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