Monday September 15th 2008 at 7.30pm, Anna’s Jazz Island in Berkeley
A co-presentation with Death Penalty Focus!
The Death Penalty: 3 Perspectives Victim, Conviction, Defense
Judy Kerr: sister of murder victim; spokesperson for California Crime Victimes for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Aaron Owens: falsely convicted of murder charges
Elizabeth Zitrin: attorney; advocate for Amnesty International, World Coalition Against The Death Penalty
Anna’s Jazz Island:
2120 ALLSTON WAY BERKELEY CA 94704
(just east of Shattuck Avenue &
downtown Berkeley BART)
Click for Map
People of all political stripes are encouraged to attend. Admission is free
The Death Penalty: 3 Perspectives- Victim, Conviction, Defense
Berkeley Green Mondays presents an insightful and stimulating
discussion of the death penalty. 3 outstanding speakers will discuss
their unique perspectives on the overall impact of the death penalty
on society. Topics will include the personal stories of the
presenters, the application , the racial disparities, the history,
and much more.
Aaron Owens (Exonerated Prisoner)
Aaron Owens was convicted of 2 counts of 1st degree murder in Alameda
County in 1973. He received a life sentence and served for almost 10
years until his release in 1982.
One of Aaron Owens’ best friends is John Taylor, the prosecutor who
convinced the jury that Owens was guilty -the man who sent him to
prison for two life sentences for a double murder he did not commit.
And Taylor is also the man who is responsible for Aaron now being
free. Though Aaron’s conviction was for a capital offense, it came at
a time when California had a moratorium on the death penalty as a
result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Furman v. Georgia. That
stroke of luck meant he was sentenced to life instead. “If not for
the moratorium, I would have been dead in ’76 because that’s when
they affirmed my conviction,” Owens said.
Aaron’s conviction was simply a case of mistaken eyewitness
identification. Thanks to John Taylor, Aaron received a full pardon
and was released in 1982 after 10 years in prison. But that’s all he
got. He never received any compensation at all. The conviction still
appears on his record, which has made life after prison even more
difficult. Aaron now works for John, doing investigation and legal
work. Both fan’s of the Oakland A’s, you will often find them sitting
at the ballpark together, friends with a unique bond.
Elizabeth Zitrin (Death Penalty Focus Speaker)
Elizabeth Zitrin is an attorney and currently serves as the California
Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Amnesty International. She
serves on the Board of Directors of Death Penalty Focus, the ACLU of
Northern California and the Advisory Board of the Northern California
Innocence Project. She represents Death Penalty Focus on the Steering
Committee of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, where she
chairs the USA Working Group. She is a frequent speaker on the death
penalty. Elizabeth holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and a J.D. from
Northeastern University School of Law.
Judy Kerr (Victim Speaker)
Judy Kerr’s brother, Robert James Kerr, was found lifeless, shirtless,
barefoot and without identification on July 12, 2003 in Everett,
Washington. She is still waiting for a suspect to be named and for
justice to take its course. But she is absolute in her conviction
that justice through execution is not the justice needed. She does not
support the death penalty and instead honors her brother’s life by
standing against the death penalty and working as the Victim Outreach
Liaison/Spokesperso n for California Crime Victims for Alternatives to
the Death Penalty.
7:30pm to 8:45pm Brief speeches from the speaker followed by forum
questions and discussion with the audience.
8:45pm to 10:30pm Relaxed discussion (nobody on stage) drink, eat,