Guest Speakers

Cassy StubbsCassy Stubbs
Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project

Cassy Stubbs is the director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. Cassy joined the project in 2006 and since then has served as lead and associate counsel on behalf of death row inmates and defendants in trials and appeals throughout the South, including Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. Her clients have included Levon "Bo" Jones, a North Carolina death row inmate who was exonerated in 2008 when the state dismissed all charges against him, and Richard C. Taylor, a severely mentally ill man who was sentenced to death after a sham trial in Tennessee, but who won a new trial on appeal and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.

Cassy has also worked with numerous organizations and ACLU affiliates to file amicus briefs in capital cases in state and federal courts around the country. She has written policy papers, editorials and blog posts on a wide range of capital issues, such as the persistence of racial disparities in capital punishment and the fundamental flaws of purported claims that the death penalty deters future murders.


Lenny and Vandy Beth SingletonLenny and Vandy Beth Singleton

Lenny and Vandy Beth Singleton will share their powerful story. Lenny Singleton was pardoned by former Governor Terry McAuliffe after serving over 23 years of a double life sentence.

From The Virginia Pilot:

Pardoned by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe earlier this year, Singleton was released Wednesday morning from St. Brides Correctional Center in southern Chesapeake after serving 23 years behind bars.

In the 1990s, a Norfolk judge sentenced Singleton to two life terms plus 110 years in prison for a week long spree of robberies in which he made off with a total of $550. No one was injured, and Singleton was unarmed in all but one robbery, in which he carried a table knife, according to his attorney.

Singleton was addicted to crack cocaine at the time and was hoping to be sentenced to a drug court program when he pleaded guilty.

In his pardon, McAuliffe said the court "unjustly imposed a deeply severe punishment." Singleton's attorney, John Coggeshall, estimates it has cost taxpayers about a half-million dollars to incarcerate Singleton over the past two decades.

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