According to Amnesty International, 70 countries permit the death penalty. During 2007, 24 countries, 88% in China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States alone, executed 1,252 people.
And here in California, one of 36 states with the death penalty, the death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life.
In response to a critical shortage of qualified and adequately funded counsel for individuals under death sentence, the Death Penalty Clinic at UC Berkeley's School of Law was created in part to represent men and women in capital post-conviction proceedings in Alabama and California by offering a program that helps students develop outstanding legal skills and to serve clients facing capital punishment.
These complex cases teach students about law, courts, and the justice system, and prepare them to enter the profession with a commitment to fundamental rights- Grace Cathedral
Rev. Alan Jones
Alan Jones, Ph.D., has been dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco since 1985.
Jones was formerly the director of the Center for Christian Spirituality and Stephen F. Bayne Professor of Ascetical Theology at General Theological Seminary in New York City. Born and educated in England, Jones was also on the staff of Trinity Institute of Wall Street's Trinity Church. He became a citizen of the United States in 1975.
Jones is the author of several books, most notably, Soul Making, The Desert Way of Spirituality, Passion for Pilgrimage and most recently, The Soul's Journey: Exploring the Three Passages of the Spiritual Life with Dante as a Guide. He is widely known as a gifted preacher and travels throughout the world preaching, lecturing, and leading retreats.
Desiree Ramirez is a Berkeley Law student working in the Death Penalty Clinic. The Death Penalty Clinic opened its doors in August 2001, as part of Boalt Hall's Center for Clinical Legal Education. The clinic's mission is to offer a program that helps students develop outstanding legal skills and to serve clients facing capital punishment.
After graduating from UC Davis School of Law, Elisabeth Semel became a deputy public defender. In 1980, she entered private practice and, in 1983, formed the firm of Semel & Feldman.
Semel has defended criminal cases in the state and federal courts with an emphasis on representation at the trial level, including homicides and capital cases. In 1997, Semel left private practice to serve as the director of the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project in Washington, D.C.
Semel joined the Boalt faculty in 2001, as the first director of the Death Penalty Clinic. In that capacity, Semel represents clients under sentence of death in states such as Alabama and California and engages in related litigation such as amicus curiae briefs, petitions for writs of certiorari, clemency petitions, and pretrial motions in capital cases. Semel and her students have prepared amicus curiae briefs that were filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in several death penalty cases, including Miller-El v. Cockrell, Miller-El v. Dretke, and Snyder v. Louisiana (all dealing with race discrimination in jury selection).