Valuing Black Lives: A Case for Abolishing the Death Penalty
Facilitated by Alexis Hoag

Sunday, July 19, 2020, 5–7pm

About the reading group

This is an online event and will take place on Zoom.

Date: Sunday, July 19, 2020 
Time: 5–7pm EST (2 hours)
Free, Register here.

In this session we will explore the unbroken thread from this nation's system of slavery, the resulting racial hierarchy, and racial inequality in the contemporary criminal legal system. With this foundation, we'll examine the administration of capital punishment and discuss why we must abolish the death penalty to advance Black Lives Matter. 

Reading List

1) Alexis Hoag, “Valuing Black Lives: A Case for Ending the Death Penalty,” Columbia Human Rights Law Review 51, no. 3 (2020). Link here. [Download the PDF here]
Read: "Introduction" (pp 988-992) and "Early American Criminal Law and the Fourteenth Amendment as Redress to Black Victim Cases," (pp 998-1002)

2) Equal Justice Initiative, “Reconstruction in America: Racial Violence after the Civil War, 1865-1876,” 2020. Link here. [Download the PDF here
Read: Bryan Stevenson, "Introduction." 

3) Watch a 6-minute video from EJI here

About the instructor 

Alexis Hoag is the inaugural Practitioner-in-Residence at the Eric Holder Initiative for Civil & Political Rights and a lecturer at Columbia Law. Hoag teaches courses on abolition, capital post-conviction defense, and movement lawyering. Her scholarship explores America’s unfulfilled promise to Black people and its impact on the criminal legal system.

Prior to Columbia Law, Hoag served as Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (“LDF”), where she represented clients in a variety of civil and criminal matters, including representing plaintiffs in the federal class action lawsuit against the NYPD’s racially discriminatory stop & frisk practices. She has authored amicus curie briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and state supreme courts on behalf of capitally convicted individuals challenging their sentences due to racial discrimination.

Prior to LDF, Hoag served eight years in the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Nashville, TN, as an Assistant Federal Public Defender, where she represented death-sentenced individuals in federal habeas and related state court proceedings. She clerked for Judge John T. Nixon of the United State District Court. Hoag graduated from Yale College and NYU School of Law.


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