SAN FRANCISCO, April 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will receive the 2017 Abolition Award from Death Penalty Focus at its 26th Annual Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 7, 2017, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.
"Senator Sanders was the first presidential candidate in nearly 30 years to forcefully declare his opposition to the death penalty and was instrumental in getting the Democratic Party to adopt abolition of capital punishment as a plank in its official platform last summer," said DPF President Mike Farrell. "I can't think of anyone who deserves the honor more."
Jane Sanders will present the award to her husband.
Acclaimed singer/songwriter Joan Baez will receive the Justice in the Arts Award. A lifelong activist and humanitarian, Baez has never wavered in the fight for abolition of capital punishment.
Judy Clarke, the acclaimed criminal defense attorney, will receive the Mario Cuomo Acts of Courage Award. Clarke, who has defended such high-profile clients as Susan Smith, Jared Loughner, and Ted Kaczynski, "may be the best death penalty lawyer in America," the New Yorker said.
Thomas H. "Speedy" Rice also will receive the Mario Cuomo Acts of Courage Award. Rice has led numerous international missions in the fight against the death penalty, including meetings with heads of state, legislative bodies, judicial conferences, and UN and EU bodies. He has tried cases in U.S. state and federal courts and argued appellate cases before a number of American courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and the New Mexico Supreme Court.
Sister Helen Prejean will present the awards to Clarke and Rice. A Roman Catholic nun from Louisiana who has been an outspoken opponent of the death penalty since meeting condemned inmate Patrick Sonnier in 1984, Sister Helen wrote about his execution in her book, "Dead Man Walking," which was turned into a 1996 Oscar-winning movie of the same name.
Actor, comedian, and broadcaster John Fugelsang will emcee the event.
With more than 150 thousand supporters, Death Penalty Focus is one of the world's largest organizations solely dedicated to ending capital punishment. For nearly three decades, DPF has worked to raise public awareness, mobilize grassroots activists, build coalitions, and educate policy makers about the death penalty and its alternatives.
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SOURCE Death Penalty Focus