TCADP Webinar Series: Seeking Justice in Texas
Thank you for your interest in TCADP's webinar series. You will receive a link for the Zoom meeting the morning of the session.

Here's a description of the sessions we're offering in October:

Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 12:00 to 1:00 PM CDT: Texas’s “Future Dangerousness” Special Issue, Part 1: A Problematic History

Tuesday, October 27 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM: Texas’s “Future Dangerousness” Special Issue, Part 2: Continuing to Stack the Deck in Favor of Death

“Future dangerousness” is a concept that, on the surface, is supposed to serve a narrowing function in Texas’s death-penalty sentencing scheme. Since being incorporated into Texas law in 1973, however, this statutory provision has made the process for imposing a death sentence even more arbitrary. In Part I, capital appellate attorney Gretchen Sween will discuss the origins of Texas’s unique “future dangerousness” jury instruction (which includes neither the word “future” nor “dangerousness”). In Part II, she will examine how this special issue has been used to stack the deck in favor of death sentences.

Presenter bio:

Gretchen Sween initially worked to highlight the flawed arguments used to justify the death penalty while teaching introductory philosophy classes to undergraduates. At the University of Texas School of Law (after deciding to change career paths), she became involved with the Capital Punishment Clinic and worked as a research assistant for Professor Jordan Steiker, an expert in death-penalty jurisprudence. Thereafter, while practicing civil trial and appellate law at prestigious firms, she worked on numerous pro bono appeals in capital cases, including authoring amicus briefs in support of petitioners to the Supreme Court of the United States. She also represented an indigent individual, Raphael Holiday, pro bono, litigating the right to obtain substitute counsel after he was abandoned by his attorneys on the brink of an execution date. In recent years, now as a solo practitioner based in Austin, Gretchen has devoted her full-time practice to defending indigent individuals in death-penalty cases.

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