March 21, 2012
ATLANTA – Georgia State University College of Law Professor Anne S. Emanuel has been named the recipient of the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights for her accomplishments as a legal educator, author, speaker and advocate, and continuing efforts to advance justice and fairness in Georgia's legal system, including an end to use of the death penalty.
In its announcement of the award, the Center made special note of Emanuel's "assistance to Amnesty International serving as a legal analyst in the campaign to save the life of Troy Davis." Davis was convicted of killing a Savannah police office in 1989, and his case ignited an international campaign to save his life.
In the weeks leading up to Davis' execution last fall, Emanuel was quoted in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor about the case. Emanuel noted the prosecutors' reliance on two hearsay confessions at the original trial, including one allegedly given by Davis to a cellmate shortly after his arrest. Both confessions were later recanted by the witnesses in affidavits.
"At the original trial, you've got very dubious eyewitness identifications and a lot of hearsay," said Emanuel. "It's appalling for a death case."
Emanuel is currently on the Board of Advisors for the Atlanta Chapter of the American Constitution Society, the advisory board of Greenlaw (formerly Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest) after having served many years as a member of the Board of Directors, and is a member of the American Law Institute. She had served on the Boards of the Federal Defenders, Inc. for the Northern District of Georgia, the Atlanta Bar Association, as well as on the Formal Advisory Opinion Board of the State Bar of Georgia.
From 2004-2006, she served as Chair of Georgia's ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Committee, which culminated in the publication of Evaluating Fairness and Accuracy in State Death Penalty Systems: The Georgia Death Penalty Assessment Report.
Emanuel has written extensively about Chief Judge of the historic Fifth Circuit, Elbert Tuttle, for whom she clerked following graduation from Emory University School of Law, and is the author of the recently published biography, Elbert Parr Tuttle: Chief Jurist of the Civil Rights Revolution.
Emanuel will receive the award at a benefit reception, Justice Taking Root, in Atlanta on May 8.
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