RALEIGH – Anthony Ray Hinton, author of the best-seller “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” will visit the Campbell Law School community to speak to students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends on Wednesday, Aug. 30. The events are not open to the public.
After being wrongfully convicted of murder, Hinton spent 30 years on death row in Alabama before his release in 2015. Since then, Hinton has been an advocate for criminal justice reform. He travels the world to speak with audiences about his experience of finding life and freedom on death row and about the work he does through the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization that was founded by attorney and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson, the author of “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” which was required reading for the incoming Class of 2026, explained Professor Susanna Geiser, who helped organize Hinton’s visit.
Hinton’s story of perseverance is inspiring and his perspective on the flaws in the criminal legal system is enlightening. As EJI Community Educator, Hinton is a tireless and powerful advocate for abolition of the death penalty, the EJI website states, and he is committed to informing audiences about the prevalence of wrongful convictions and of racial bias in the criminal justice system.
“It should be an informative and thought-provoking day,” said Professor Jon Powell ‘98, director of the law school’s Restorative Justice Clinic, which is celebrating 20 years of serving clients including those on death row. The clinic strives to bring victims and offenders together using restorative justice practices in an effort to foster collaborative healing, rather than specifically seeking punishment. Campbell Law students engage all involved parties in dialogue to address the specifics of a violation, how it occurred, why it occurred and what happened as a result. The project aims to discover how people and communities are hurt as a result of crime, and seeks to find the best solution to repair the damage that has been done.
Hinton is one of 152 former prisoners released from death row since 1983. Hinton was one of the longest-serving death row prisoners in Alabama history and among the longest-serving condemned prisoners to be freed.
“Race, poverty, inadequate legal assistance and prosecutorial indifference to innocence conspired to create a textbook example of injustice,” Stevenson says in a quote on the EJI website. “I can’t think of a case that more urgently dramatizes the need for reform than what has happened to Anthony Ray Hinton.”
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Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law School has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,800 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2023, Campbell Law is celebrating 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 14 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.