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Bar News - April 4, 2008

Pierce Law Review Death Penalty Forum

On April 15, 2008 at 7:00 p.m., the Pierce Law Review and Social Justice Institute will be hosting a panel discussion on the death penalty at Franklin Pierce Law Center, with a reception to follow the event. This panel discussion will coincide with Pierce Law Reviewís publication of a special death penalty issue, with articles written by experts in the field, law professors, and Pierce Law students.

The subject of the panel discussion will be "Current Issues of the Death Penalty in New Hampshire" and the panel members will include Peter Beeson, Renny Cushing, Chris Johnson, Barbara Keshen, John Kissinger, Alan Rogers, and Andru Volinsky.

Peter Beeson, an attorney at Devine Millimet in New Hampshire, used to be the chief of the criminal bureau in the New Hampshire Attorney Generalís office.

Renny Cushing, the founder and Executive Director of Murder Victimsí Families for Human Rights, has testified before the U.S. Congress and several state legislatures on the death penalty and is very active in the campaign to end the death penalty in New Hampshire.

Chris Johnson, Professor of Law at Pierce Law and Chief Appellate Defender of New Hampshire, has written several law review articles on the death penalty, including the Foreword to Pierce Law Reviewís upcoming special death penalty issue. Before coming to Pierce Law, Chris Johnson worked as a Staff Attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.

Barbara Keshen, a staff attorney at the NH Civil Liberties Union and adjunct professor at Pierce Law, has a lot of experience with the death penalty in New Hampshire. While working at the New Hampshire Public Defender, she helped defend a client in a capital case, successfully obtaining a plea bargain in that case. Prior to that, Keshen worked at the Criminal Justice Bureau of the NH Attorney Generalís Office.

John Kissinger, an attorney at Nelson, Kinder, Mosseau & Saturley in Manchester, NH, is currently defending a capital case in Georgia. Prior to joining NKM&S, Kissinger was a homicide prosecutor in the New Hampshire Attorney Generalís Office for more than five years. During that time, he handled several high profile murder cases for the State of New Hampshire.

Alan Rogers, a Professor of History at Boston College, has written extensively on the death penalty, particularly on the history of the death penalty in Massachusetts. He wrote an article featured in Pierce Law Reviewís upcoming special death penalty issue and is also the author of the book: Murder and the Death Penalty in Massachusetts.

Andru Volinsky, an attorney at Bernstein Shur in Manchester, NH, is also currently defending pro bono a capital case in Georgia. Volinsky has previously worked with the NH Public Defender and argued and won the U.S. Supreme Court case, Gray v. Mississippi, a death penalty case in 1987.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Ralph Jimenez, Editorial Page Editor at the Concord Monitor. Ralph Jimenez is the founder of the Concord basketball league named in honor of the late Franklin Pierce Law professor Bruce Friedman. He is in his third decade of writing about New Hampshire for the Concord Monitor and the Boston Globe and is currently serving his second stint as the Monitorís editorial page editor. He was named the 2007 editorial writer of the year by the New Hampshire Press Association.

Topics that will be covered at this panel discussion include: current capital litigation in New Hampshire, legislative efforts in NH dealing with the death penalty, comparing death penalty law and practice in NH to other states, and how current legislative efforts and court cases in other states have impacted the death penalty debate in NH.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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