Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, delivers the keynote address for "Lynching and the Death Penalty," March 2012


The Capital Punishment Center sponsors a range of events during the academic year, including conferences, lectures, and panel presentations. These events bring together students, faculty, practicing attorneys, judges and public leaders to examine issues related to the death penalty in Texas.

Upcoming Events

“Comparative Capital Punishment Conference”
April 7-8, 2017, University of Texas School of Law

This conference, “Comparative Capital Punishment” will address the many commonalities (and some significant differences) in the worldwide movement away from the death penalty that began in the late eighteenth century and that sharply accelerated in the last half of the twentieth century. At the present moment, the industrialized West is an almost completely abolitionist zone (with the notable exception of the United States), while the death penalty is seeing a resurgence in some parts of the Middle East and Africa. This conference will look broadly and deeply at the practice of capital punishment around the world. There are many common themes even in apparently disparate parts of the world, such as the kinds of restrictions and reforms that usually precede abolition, the moral, political, and legal strategies of reformers and abolitionists, the forces that promote retention, and the distinctive possibilities and pitfalls of various pathways to change (legislative action vs. judicial intervention vs. international or transnational institutions and influences). The conference brings together experts on different regions and issues to evaluate the past, present, and future of the practice of capital punishment.

Visit the full conference page for more details.

Past Events

“Bookfest: Celebrating Jordan Steiker’s Newest Publication”
February 10, 2017
The law school is taking an afternoon this week to celebrate Prof. Jordan Steiker, along with his sister and co-author, Harvard Law School Prof. Carol Steiker, and their new book, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment.

A gala barbeque lunch (with veggie options) was held, with special guests David Sklansky, of Stanford Law School, and Tracey Meares, of Yale Law School, offering commentary on the book.  That was followed by an early afternoon public panel looking closely at the years of research that went into the book and the ways in which the nation’s discourse on capital punishment, both in the mainstream consciousness and in the courts, has evolved in that time. The panel took place in the law school’s Eidman Courtroom, and featured the great legal journalist and New Yorker contributor, Lincoln Caplan, and distinguished attorney, Richard Burr.

“GRITS: Getting Radical in the South 2016”
October 14–15, 2016,  University of Texas School of Law

GRITS is a student-run public interest law conference that focuses on the difficulties and constraints inherent to social justice work in the South.

“First Tuesday: Capital Punishment in the U.S. Supreme Court, 2015 and 2016 terms”
October 4, 2016,  University of Texas School of Law
“Capital Punishment in the U.S. Supreme Court, 2015 and 2016 terms” – the capital punishment faculty (Jim Marcus, Raoul Schonemann, Jordan Steiker, and Thea Posel) review the important death penalty cases decided by the US Supreme Court last Term and discuss the key cases – both from Texas – before the Court this Term.


“40 Years After Gregg: A National Conference on the Death Penalty”
March 31 to April 2, 2016, University of Texas School of Law

In 1976, the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in the United States in Gregg v. Georgia. In the forty years since that historic decision, the legal landscape has changed significantly, and the use of capital punishment has been the subject of passionate public debate.  As this anniversary presents a unique opportunity for reflection, we invite you to join us for a conference that will bring together some of the nation’s leading death penalty experts and practitioners to share their diverse perspectives, reflect on the dynamic history of capital punishment in the United States, and discuss the issues impacting the law today.

By facilitating discussions on a range of timely topics, “40 Years After Gregg” will be a unique forum to educate members of the legal profession and the public on the complex contours of death penalty law.  Panels will be led by preeminent judges, prosecutors, defenders, academics, current and former government officials, journalists, victims’ advocates, and other professionals whose work affects how this country uses and thinks about capital punishment. This conference is sure to be a meaningful – and fun – occasion to engage with and learn from a diverse array of people who care about our criminal justice system.
View the full conference program.

“Innocent Going In and Innocent Coming Out: The Exoneration of Alfred Dewayne Brown”
October 26, 2015, University of Texas School of Law

Alfred Dewayne Brown spent 10 years on Death Row in Texas for a crime he did not commit. He was released in June of 2015. Mr. Brown is the 13th person released from Texas’s Death Row, and the 154th person released from Death Row in the United States, since 1973. Come hear from two of Mr. Brown’s attorneys, Brian Stolarz of LeClairRyan and Casey Kaplan (UT Law 2007) of Nike, Inc. Mr. Brown joined his attorneys for this presentation.

“First Monday: Capital Punishment in the Supreme Court”
October 5, 2015, University of Texas School of Law
Review of Capital Punishment Cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, 2014 and 2015 Terms.

“Latinos and the Death Penalty Program”
April 10-11, 2015, University of Texas School of Law

The Berkeley Law Death Penalty Clinic, Cornell Death Penalty Project and University of Texas Capital Punishment Center cordially invite you to a symposium on “Latinos and the Death Penalty” at The University of Texas School of Law on April 10-11, 2015. The conference brings together experts from a variety of fields (law, sociology, criminology, psychology, linguistics, history, and international relations) to illuminate a relatively unexplored aspect of the American death penalty. The program is free and open to the public. View the full program and event poster (PDF).

Screening of “The Last 40 Miles”
November 21, 2014, University of Texas School of Law

“Mass Incarceration and the Death Penalty”
March 22–23, 2013, University of Texas School of Law

Sister Helen Prejean at the Texas Law School 11 Oct 2012Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues,” with Sister Helen Prejean
Oct. 11, 2012, University of Texas School of Law
flyer, press


“Lynching and the Death Penalty,”
March 23–24, 2012, University of Texas School of Law

A symposium focusing on the historical link between lynching and the death penalty, their similarities and differences, and the enduring role of lynching and race discrimination in contemporary capital litigation. News Release.

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Ray Bonner to discuss recent book, Anatomy of Injustice
March 5, 2012, University of Texas School of Law

“The American Death Penalty in the 21st Century: The Direction of Legislative Change and the Prospects for Legislative Abolition”
April 9–10, 2010, University of Texas School of Law