Bright to give I. Goodman Cohen Lecture at WSU

Wayne State University Law School will host renowned capital punishment opponent Stephen B. Bright Nov. 17 when he delivers the 25th annual I. Goodman Cohen Lecture in Trial Advocacy.

Bright's lecture, "The Right to Counsel in Death Penalty and Other Criminal Cases: Neglect of the Most Fundamental Right and What We Should Do About It," will begin at 6 p.m. in the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium at Wayne State University Law School located at 471 W. Palmer St. in Detroit. The lecture will be followed by a reception.

Bright, a nationally known legal expert on the death penalty, is president and senior counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, a public interest law firm that provides legal representation to people facing the death penalty and works to increase access to lawyers for those convicted of crimes, incarcerated or challenging prison conditions. He served as director of the Center from 1982 to 2005.

Bright has become one of the nation's most outspoken opponents of capital punishment, representing people facing the death penalty at trials and on appeals since 1979. He argued the case of Snyder v. Louisiana before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 and Amadeo v. Zant before the Court in 1988. In both cases, death sentences were set aside because of racial discrimination.

In addition, he has been involved in several programs to increase the quality and fairness of representation of poor people in the judicial courts. Bright served as a legal services attorney with the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, representing poor people in the coal fields of eastern Kentucky in jail conditions, welfare rights and other civil litigation. He was a public defender in Washington, DC. He also served as the executive director of the District of Columbia Law Students in Court Program, which gives law students the opportunity to provide legal assistance to the impoverished in civil and criminal cases.

Bright has been a fellow or visiting lecturer in law at Yale Law School since 1993. In addition to Yale, he has taught courses on criminal law and capital punishment at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Emory, Georgetown, Northeastern, and other law schools. He earned his bachelor's degree and his law degree at the University of Kentucky. His articles have been published in prominent law journals around the country, such as the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal.

Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards and honors, including the American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award in 1998, the Roger-Baldwin Medal of Liberty presented by the American Civil Liberties Union in 1991, and the Kutak-Dodds Prize by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in 1992.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For further information, please contact the Dean's Office at (313) 577-3933.