Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2006-10-18

The Black Law Students Association of Samford University's Cumberland School of Law will participate in a nationwide event that focuses attention on the death penalty Thursday, Oct. 19.

BLSA members will gather to view the debut showing of a documentary, "After Innocence," to be shown on Showtime cable television network. Around the nation, other BLSA chapters will also meet to view and discuss the film.

The Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary tells the dramatic and compelling story of exonerated men who were wrongfully imprisoned for decades and then released after DNA evidence proved their innocence.

According to Cumberland BLSA member Eddie Koen, the viewing is an opportunity to engage in a thought-provoking look at issues associated with the wrongfully convicted. Koen is chair of BLSA's national death penalty moratorium effort.

The law students will gather at 7 p.m. at a private home to view the show, which airs at 7:30 p.m.

James Cochran, who spent 18 years on Alabama's death row before being re-tried and released, will discuss his experiences in the Alabama penal system. A representative of a murder victim's family will also speak.

The local event is co-sponsored by BLSA chapters at Cumberland and University of Alabama Law School, and members of the Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty organization.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.