Joan Cheever, author of Back from the Dead: One Woman's Search for the Men Who Walked Off America's Death Row, will speak Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Neuharth Center Conference Room. The Honorable Mark W. Bennett, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, will speak on "Life in the Balance: Reflections of a Federal District Court Judge on Two Death Penalty Trials," on Nov. 14 at 4 p.m. in Farber Hall.
Cheever's speech will examine the following questions: What would happen if the United States abolished the death penalty and emptied its Death Rows? If killers were released from prison? What would they do with their second chance to live? Would they kill again?
She tells the story of 589 former death row inmates who, through a lottery of fate, were given a second chance at life in 1972 when the death penalty was abolished.
Joan M. Cheever is an award-winning legal affairs journalist and a former managing editor of the National Law Journal. She is a member of the bar in Texas, New York and Connecticut.
J. Mark W. Bennett has presided over the trials of two of the most notorious murderers in the Midwest. He was appointed a United States district judge in the Northern District of Iowa on Aug. 26, 1994. On Jan. 1, 2000, he became chief judge of the Northern District. Judge Bennett had previously served as a United States magistrate in the sister district, the Southern District of Iowa.