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Community Conversations: The Death Penalty in America: 2010

To prepare for the campus visit of Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking (Pulitzer-Prize nomination) and internationally recognized anti-capital punishment activist, University Housing and the Robert D. Clark Honors College hosted a special screening of the film, Dead Man Walking directed by Tim Robbins and starring Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen and Sean Penn as death-row inmate Elmo Patrick Sonnier. Dr. William Long, Professor of Law at Willamette University and author of A Tortured History: The Story of Capital Punishment in Oregon delivered a pre-screening talk to contextualize the film, and “show why the debate over capital punishment has risen to such visibility in the last few years in American discussion.” Dr. Long also briefly explained how death penalty cases are handled and his theory of the “waves” of American history with respect to the death penalty. After the film, Dr. Long moderated a discussion with the audience and answered questions. Students will also enjoy the chance to win copies of A Tortured History signed by the author.

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