"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Birmingham attorney takes fight against death penalty in U.S. to the United Nations

Birmingham lawyer Lisa Borden opposes the death penalty. One of her worst fears is the prospect that one day she will have to watch a client executed.

Borden, who oversees the pro bono programs at the firm of Baker Donelson, has been involved in the appeals of five death row inmates. She also has filed briefs on behalf of groups fighting against executions.

But recently she found another way to help condemned inmates - she asked other nations to bring pressure on the United States to make changes to death penalty policies.

Borden was among 12 representatives from The Advocates For Human Rights, a non-profit group from Minnesota, that traveled in late March to the U.N. offices in Geneva Switzerland to participate in the U.N.'s "Universal Periodic Review."

The U.N. created the 'Universal Periodic Review" in 2006 as a way to review the human rights records of all 193 member nations. Each nation's human rights records are reviewed every four years.

During the process other nations are allowed to recommend changes the nation under review should make. The United States' next review is May 11. The U.S. can accept, reject, or just note the recommendations made by other countries.

In preparation for the reviews, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including The Advocates For Human Rights, are afforded an opportunity to submit reports and lobby the delegates of member nations on what recommendations they should make, in this case, to the United States.

Borden was the only one of the 12 with The Advocates for Human Rights to focus on the U.S. death penalty issues. Her firm had worked with the group on death penalty issues before. The others in the group focused on other issues.

Source: al.com, Kent Faulk, April 18, 2015

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