Saint Martin’s social justice lecture focuses on death penalty

Juan Melendez, exonerated death row inmate, discusses his experiences

September 18, 2008

Lacey, Washington—Saint Martin’s University will begin its 2008-2009 Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series with the first of four lectures on Friday, October 3, at 4 p.m. in Spangler Hall on the University’s main campus, 5300 Pacific Avenue SE, Lacey, Washington, 98503.

Juan Roberto Melendez, the 99th person to be exonerated of a crime and released from a U. S. death row since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, will discuss the death penalty as a form of punishment in the United States. Admission is free and open to the public.

Juan Roberto Melendez spent nearly 18 years on Florida’s death row until he was released based on evidence of innocence in 2002. He had been convicted Delbert Baker’s murder and sentenced to death. His conviction and death sentence were upheld on appeal three times before a taped confession from the real killer was discovered and introduced. Mr. Melendez’s lecture will highlight the problems with the death penalty, including the risk of executing the innocent, its unfair and unequal imposition based on race and ethnicity, and the disproportionate sentencing of society’s poor.

The Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series was created by Saint Martin’s University Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Robert Hauhart, Ph.D., J.D., to raise awareness of social justice issues within the community and to honor the work of Robert A. Harvie, J.D., former professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Saint Martin’s University.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 320-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 student from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its five extension campuses located at Fort Lewis Army Post, McChord Air Force Base, Olympic College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:

Robert Hauhart, Ph.D., J.D.
Saint martin’s University

Stephen McGlone
Saint Martin’s University