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Stephen B. Bright


J.D. University of Kentucky
B.A. University of Kentucky


Right to Counsel
Capital Punishment
Racial Discrimination
Judicial Independence
Prisons and Jails


Stephen B. Bright, a professor of practice, teaches a course on prosecution and defense of capital and other criminal cases. Bright has taught at Georgetown and Yale University Law Schools. He served as director of the Southern Center for Human Rights from 1982 to 2005, and served as its president and senior counsel from 2006 to 2016.

Before joining the Southern Center for Human Rights, he was a public defender in Washington, D.C., and a legal services attorney in the coal fields of Appalachia. He has tried capital cases before juries in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, and argued cases before many state and federal appellate courts.

Bright has argued four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, winning all four that involved racial discrimination in the composition of juries.

Bright received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award in 1998. The Daily Report, Georgia’s legal newspaper, named him “Newsmaker of the Year” in 2003 for his contribution to bringing about creation of a public defender system in Georgia.

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