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Indybay Feature

Berkeley Green Monday: The Death Penalty: 3 Perspectives

Monday, September 15, 2008
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Event Type:
Conor Dixon
Location Details:
Anna's Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Free. Open to all. Wheelchair Accessible.

Berkeley Green Mondays presents an insightful and stimulating discussion of the death penalty. Three outstanding speakers - including an exonerated prisoner- will discuss their unique perspectives on the overall impact of the death penalty on society. You'll hear the personal stories of the presenters, the racial disparities, the history, and much more. The evening will include time for Q & A.

Speakers:Aaron Owens, Exonerated of Murder Charges
Elizabeth Zitrin Attorney, Death Penalty Focus
Judy Kerr, California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, brother of Murder Victim

Aaron Owens (Exonerated Prisoner)
Aaron Owens was convicted of 2 counts of 1st degree murder in Alameda County in 1973. he received a life sentence and served for almost 10 years until his release in 1982.
One of Aaron Owens' best friends is John Taylor, the prosecutor who convinced the jury that Owens was guilty -the man who sent him to prison for two life sentences for a double murder he did not commit. And Taylor is also the man who is responsible for Aaron now being free.
Though Aaron's conviction was for a capital offense, it came at a time when California had a moratorium on the death penalty due to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Furman v. Georgia. That stroke of luck meant he was sentenced to life instead. "If not for the moratorium, I would have been dead in '76 because that's when they affirmed my conviction," Owens said.
Aaron's conviction was simply a case of mistaken eyewitness identification. Thanks to John Taylor, Aaron received a full pardon and was released in 1982 after 10 years in prison. But he never received any compensation and the conviction still appears on his record, which has made life after prison even more difficult. Aaron now works for John, doing investigation and legal work. Both fan's of the Oakland A's, you will often find them sitting at the ballpark together, friends with a unique bond.

Elizabeth Zitrin (DPF Speaker)
Elizabeth Zitrin is an attorney and currently serves as the California Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Amnesty International. She serves on the Board of Directors of Death Penalty Focus, the ACLU of Northern California and the Advisory Board of the Northern California Innocence Project. She represents Death Penalty Focus on the Steering Committee of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, where she chairs the USA Working Group. She is a frequent speaker on the death penalty. Elizabeth holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

Judy Kerr (Victim Speaker)
Judy Kerr's brother, Robert James Kerr, was found lifeless, shirtless, barefoot and without identification on July 12, 2003 in Everett, Washington. She is still waiting for a suspect to be named and for justice to take its course. But she is absolute in her conviction that justice through execution is not the justice needed. She does not support the death penalty and instead honors her brother's life by standing against the death penalty and working as the Victim Outreach Liaison/Spokesperson for California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

Added to the calendar on Sun, Aug 17, 2008 7:27PM
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