Death Penalty Alternatives is participating in two events simultaneously. It may have happened before, but not often. We are at both the Tucson Peace Fair and ASU’s Local to Global Justice Forum and Festival in Tempe. Come out to visit with us and learn of our recent activities, what we have planned for the future and what you can do to help change Arizona’s law eliminating capital punishment, replacing it with a less costly and safer alternative.
Shujaa Graham was born in Louisiana and grew up on a plantation in the segregated South of the 1950s. After moving to Southern California, Shujaa experienced the Watts Riots and police occupation of his community. In and out of trouble, he spent much of his adolescence in juvenile institutions, and when he turned 18 he was sent to Soledad Prison.
Mentored by the leadership of the Black Prison Movement, Shujaa became a leader of the growing movement within the California prison system as the Black Panther Party expanded in that community.
Shujaa was framed for a 1973 murder of a prison guard was sent to San Quentin’s death row. The California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence in 1979, yet it wasn’t until 1981 that he was found innocent and released. Shujaa lectures on the death penalty, the criminal justice system, racism, and gang violence to international audiences around the world. One of his favorite audiences is American youth: “I’m filled with ideals for a better future, I may never enjoy the fruits of this labor, but our children will.”
We are pleased to sponsor his visit and appreciate the support of Amnesty International and Pax Christi. He will be speaking at these venues in Phoenix as well as in Tucson and Flagstaff.
2/14 ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor Law School 111 E. Taylor St. Phoenix 2:00 – 3:30
2/15 Phoenix College 1202 W Thomas Rd. Student Union SU 117A and B 12 – 1:30
2/15 Glendale Community College 6000 W. Olive Ave. Glendale Student Union 104 A 5:30 – 7
2/16 Herberger Theater Center, Kax Stage, 3rd St and E. Van Buren St. Phoenix 1:15 – 2:15
2/17 St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church 3201 E Presidio Rd, Tucson, AZ 6:30 – 8:30
2/18 San Francisco de Asis Catholic Parish,1600 E Route 66, Flagstaff AZ 7:00 – 9:00
2/20 Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 East Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 6:30 – 8:30
The annual meeting of Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona took place January 21st at Arizona State University’s Beus Center for Law and Society, 111 E Taylor St, Phoenix, AZ 85004. The event was free and open to the public.
Guest speakers were attorneys Lori Voepel and Michael D. Kimerer and their client Debra Milke. Ms. Voepel was Debra Milke’s appellate attorney from 2001 through 2013, when she finally won her federal habeas appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Voepel then served as co-counsel with Mr. Kimerer for Ms. Milke in re-trial proceedings, until successfully petitioning the Arizona Court of Appeals for dismissal of Ms. Milke’s case with prejudice in 2015. Mr. Kimerer has been practicing law in Phoenix since 1970 when he left California to join the law firm of Lewis & Roca. In his current firm Kimerer & Derrick, P.C., Mr. Kimerer, a certified criminal law specialist, devotes his practice to criminal defense.
In 1990 Debra Milke was wrongfully convicted of a horrible crime against her own child, Christopher, who was brutally murdered. She spent 22 years on Arizona’s death row. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted her Habeas Corpus Petition in 2013, holding that prosecutors failed to disclose a history of misconduct by homicide Detective Armando Saldate, Jr. While she did gain her hard-fought-for freedom, she is still left with a life without her son, making the victory bittersweet. She remains in her hometown of Phoenix, where she works part-time at a law firm, and tries to rebuild her shattered life.