The Death Penalty Committee

For the past decade, the Death Penalty Committee has worked to address the deeply disturbing risk that individuals are being wrongfully convicted of capital crimes and unfairly sentenced to death. The Committee’s members are former judges, prosecutors, and other public officials, as well as victim advocates, defense lawyers, journalists, scholars, and other concerned Americans, all with extensive and varied experience in the criminal justice system. Some are death penalty opponents and some are death penalty supporters; the Committee takes no position on the appropriateness of the death penalty. However, all Committee members agree the inaccuracies and injustices that plague our current capital punishment system must be corrected if the death penalty is to exist.


Gerald Kogan
Chief Justice, Florida Supreme Court, 1987-1998; Chief Prosecutor, Homicide and Capital Crimes Division, Dade County, Florida, 1960-1967

Beth A. Wilkinson
Special Attorney to the U.S. Attorney General, Oklahoma City bombing case, 1995-2001; Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of New York, 1991-1995


David I. Bruck
Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, Washington and Lee University School of Law; Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel

William G. Broaddus
Attorney General, Virginia, 1985-1986

W.J. Michael Cody
Attorney General, Tennessee, 1998-2001

Mark Earley, Sr.
Attorney General, Virginia, 1998-2001; Senator, Virginia State Senate 1988-1998

O.H. Eaton, Jr.
Judge, Florida 18th Judicial Circuit, 1986-2010

John J. Gibbons
Director and Founder, John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest and Constitutional Law; Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1987-1990

Charles A. Gruber
Chief of Police, South Barrington Police Department, 1999-2008; President, International Association of Chiefs of Police, 1990; President, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, 1982

Dr. David P. Gushee
Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director, Center for Theology and Public Life, Mer­cer University

Sam D. Millsap, Jr.
District Attorney, Bexar County, Texas, 1983-1987

Sheila M. Murphy
President, Board of Directors, Illinois Death Penalty Education Project; Presiding Judge, Illinois Sixth District, 1992-1999

Chase Riveland
Secretary, Department of Corrections, Washington, 1986-1997; Executive Director, Colorado Department of Corrections, 1983-1986; Deputy Director, Wisconsin Division of Corrections, 1980-1982; Superintendent, Portage Correctional Institution, Wisconsin, 1980-1982

David A. Schwartz
President & CEO, DS Baseball LLC

William S. Sessions
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1987-1993; Judge, United States District Court, Western District of Texas, 1974-1987; Chief Judge, 1980-1987; United States Attorney, Western District of Texas, 1971-1974

Darrel Stephens
Executive Director, Major Cities Chiefs Association; Chief of Police, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, 1999-2008; Executive Director, Police Executive Research Forum, 1986-1992

B. Frank Stokes, Jr.
Private Investigator; Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1971-2001

Jennifer Thompson-Cannino
Author, activist; Member, North Carolina Innocence Commission; Member, Advisory Committee for Active Voices

Scott Turow
Author; Member, Illinois’ Executive Ethics Commission; Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, 1979-1986; Chair, Illinois State Appellate Defender’s Commission, 2002-2004

John W. Whitehead
President, The Rutherford Institute

Dr. Reginald Wilkinson
Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), 1991-2006; DRC employee, 1973; Presi­dent, American Correctional Association; Vice Chair for North America, International Corrections and Prison Association; President, Ohio Correctional and Court Services Association; Founder, Ohio chapter, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice

Michael Wolff
Dean, Saint Louis University School of Law; Judge, Supreme Court of Missouri, 1998-2011; Chief Justice, 2005-2007

Rev. Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III
Executive Director, American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist Churches, USA

Former Members

Rev. James E. Andrews*
Stated Clerk, General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA), 1973-1996

Charles F. Baird
Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, 1991-1999; Judge, Criminal District Court, Travis County, Texas, 2007-2011

Harry Barnes, Jr.*
United States Ambassador, Romania, 1974-1977; India, 1981-1985; and Chile, 1985-1988

Bob Barr
Member, United States House of Representatives (R-GA), 1995-2003

Charles B. Blackmar*
Chief Justice, Missouri Supreme Court, 1989-1991

Robert J. Burns
Judge, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, 1979-1997

Rosalynn Carter
Vice Chair, The Carter Center; First Lady of the United States, 1977-1981

Mario M. Cuomo
Governor, New York, 1983-1994

James A. Fry
Assistant District Attorney, Dallas County, Texas, 1980-1982; Chairman, Texas State Bar Grievance Committee

Thomas A. Gottschalk
Executive Vice President and General Counsel, General Motors Corporation, 1994-2006

Asa Hutchinson
Undersecretary, Department of Homeland Security, 2003-2005; Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administra­tion, 2001-2003; Member, United States House of Representatives (R-AR), 1997-2001; United States Attorney, Western District of Arkansas, 1982-1985

Peter D. Keisler
Acting Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, 2003-2007; Principal Deputy As­sociate Attorney General, 2002-2003; Acting Associate Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice, 2007

Cardinal William H. Keeler
Archbishop of Baltimore, 1989-2007

Paula M. Kurland
Victim Advocate; founding Member, Bridges to Life (a victim-offender program in Texas)

Ann Landers*
Syndicated Columnist, 1955-2002

David Lawrence, Jr.
Executive Editor, Detroit Free Press, 1978-1989; Publisher, Miami Herald, 1989-1999

Timothy Lynch
Director, Project on Criminal Justice, Cato Institute

Abner J. Mikva
Schwartz Lecturer and Senior Director, Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, University of Chicago Law School; Member, United States House of Representatives (D-IL), 1969-1973 and 1975-1979; White House Counsel, 1994-1995; Judge, D.C. Circuit United States Court of Appeals, 1979-1994; Chief Judge, 1991-1994

Dr. LeRoy Riddick
Adjunct Professor, Department of Pathology, University of South Alabama, 1990-2006

Laurie O. Robinson
Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, 1993-2000 and 2009-2012.

Kurt L. Schmoke
Mayor, Baltimore, 1987-1999; State’s Attorney, Baltimore, 1983-1987

G. Elaine Smith
President, American Baptist Churches, USA, 1996-1997

Vin Weber
Member, United States House of Representatives (R-MN), 1980-1992

Mark White*
Governor, Texas, 1983-1987; Attorney General, Texas, 1979-1983; Secretary of State, Texas, 1973-1977; Assistant Attorney General, Texas, 1965-1969

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
President Emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism, 1996-2012

* Deceased


The Constitution Project received first-rate guidance in the production of Irreversible Error from its past reporters of Mandatory Justice 2001 and Mandatory Justice: The Death Penalty Revisited 2005.

Susan Bandes (Mandatory Justice: Eighteen Reforms to the Death Penalty)
Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois

William J. Bowers, Ph.D. (Social Science Consultant 1999-2001)
College of Criminal Justice, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts

Robert P. Mosteller (Mandatory Justice: Eighteen Reforms to the Death Penalty)
Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law

Margaret Paris (Mandatory Justice: The Death Penalty Revisited)
Professor of Law, University of Oregon School of Law

Stephen Saltzburg (Mandatory Justice: Eighteen Reforms to the Death Penalty)
Wallace and Beverly Woodley University Professor of Law, the George Washington University Law School

Andrew E. Taslitz (Mandatory Justice: The Death Penalty Revisited) (deceased)
Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law



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