LECTURE: Race and Poverty in the American Criminal Justice System
Stephen B. Bright is president and senior counsel of the Southern Center for Human Rights and teaches at Yale Law School. Subjects of his litigation, teaching and writing include capital punishment, legal representation for poor people accused of crimes, conditions and practices in prisons and jails, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, judicial independence, and sentencing. He has tried cases, including capital cases, before juries and argued cases before state and federal appellate courts. He has twice argued and won cases before the United States Supreme Court, Snyder v. Louisiana, 552 U.S. 472 (2008) , and Amadeo v. Zant, 486 U.S. 214 (1988). Both cases involved racial discrimination in the composition of the juries.
He has testified on many occasions before committees of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. He has also taught at the law schools at Harvard, Georgetown, Emory and Northeastern. His and the Center's work has been the subject of a documentary film, Fighting for Life in the Death Belt, and two books, William McFeely's Proximity to Death and Kayta Lezin's Finding Life on Death Row.
He received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award in 1998, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty in 1991, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s Kutak-Dodds Prize in 1992, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Bright writes about discriminatory treatment in the criminal coursts at the blog Second Class Justice.