"Resounding Success"

The Day of Innocence was widely pronounced a resounding success, with three separate mentions in the Boston Globe and three in the Brandeis student newspaper, The Justice. Among its other mentions, The Justice editorialized in favor of an official Innocence Project at Brandeis.

Remember the day:
VideoFileWatch a video of Sister Prejean's lecture. 

Brandeis Day of Innocence


"What If We're Killing the Wrong Man?"

The Brandeis Institute for Investigative Journalism presented Sister Helen Prejean, speaking on Wednesday, March 22, 2006, at 7 p.m., as part of a campus-wide Day of Innocence.

Sister Helen Prejean was a little-known Roman Catholic nun from Louisiana in 1993 when her first book, "Dead Man Walking," challenged the way we look at the death penalty in America. It became a #1 New York Times bestseller, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and inspired the Academy Award-winning movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.

Now, in "The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions," she takes us to the new moral edge of the debate on capital punishment: What if we're killing the wrong man? 

We were thrilled to present Sister Helen's lecture, "The Death of Innocents," as she continues her crusade against the death penalty, shines light on the fundamental inadequacies built into this country’s judicial system, highlights the injustice of racial discrimination, and pushes her audiences into the depths of the moral issues raised by capital punishment.

Sister Helen’s "The Death of Innocents" takes readers into the lives and deaths of two men, Dobie Gillis Williams and Joseph O’Dell, whom she accompanied to their executions. In "The Death of Innocents" she shows the reader all the evidence, including evidence the juries never heard—either because of mistakes made by defense lawyers, or because of the rigid formalities of court procedure. Sister Helen examines how flaws inextricably entwined in the death penalty system inevitably lead to the execution of innocent people.

"'The Death of Innocents' tells us with intellect, wisdom, and passion an awful truth about the administration of capital punishment in America that we won’t or don’t want to believe—procedure arbitrarily trumps substance, maddening incompetence undermines best intentions, racism shames everyone, and innocents are executed."

Barry Scheck, Cofounder/Codirector, Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Sister Helen continues to educate the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing, and writing. As the founder of Survive, a victim's advocacy group in New Orleans, she continues to counsel not only inmates on death row, but also the families of murder victims. She has witnessed five executions in Louisiana.

For more information, please contact The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at 781-736-4953 or schusterinstitute@brandeis.edu.

We are delighted to thank all the sponsors and cosponsors of the Day of Innocence: The Brandeis Institute for Investigative Journalism and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Co-sponsored by The International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, The Program in Religious Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Department of English and American Literature, Office of the Jewish Chaplain, German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literature, M.A. Program in Cultural Production, Department of African and Afro-American Studies, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Women’s Studies Research Center.

days of innocence poster