Annual Awards event in Beverly Hills on April 15

BEVERLY HILLS –Death Penalty Focus, one of the world’s largest organizations solely dedicated to abolition of the death penalty, will hold its 23rd Annual Awards Dinner in Beverly Hills on April 15, announced DPF president and veteran actor Mike Farrell.

The organization this year will present four major awards to a group of distinguished advocates:

  • The Honorable Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland, will receive the Mario Cuomo Acts of Courage Award for his leadership in ending Maryland’s death penalty in 2013.
  • Peter Sarsgaard and Veena Sud will receive the Justice in the Arts Award on behalf of The Cast and Crew of The Killing, for their third season which centered on the case of inmate “Ray Seward” (Peter Sarsgaard), wrongly convicted of killing his wife.
  • Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, will receive the Human Rights Award for his commitment to the defense of human rights and for exposing the inhumane treatment of prisoners in the Americas.
  • Michael Millman, Executive Director of the California Appellate Project, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his steadfast dedication to providing representation for the more than 700 people on California’s death row.

“We are proud to again present a distinguished group of honorees,’’ Farrell said. “Leaders in their fields, they share our belief that the U.S., as a world leader, must end the abhorrent practice of state-sanctioned killing.  Through their work and their art, they help educate the public about the brutal conditions here and on the remaining death rows in our country.’’

Farrell noted that this will be the first awards dinner for DPF’s new executive director, Matt Cherry.  A native of Great Britain, Cherry joined Death Penalty Focus in 2013 after serving most recently as President of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

“Only four countries, China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, execute more people than the United States,’’ Cherry said. “This year’s award winners—ranging from a governor and a UN expert to Hollywood stars—demonstrate the breadth and depth of opposition to the death penalty across the US and the world. We will also be recognizing death row exonerees who between have spent more than a century of time in prison for crimes they did not commit. I am hopeful that this awards dinner will show many more people why the US needs to catch up with the rest of the West and abolish the death penalty.”
An estimated 500 people are expected for the awards dinner, which will be at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  Notables expected to be in attendance include actors Farrell, Shelley Fabares, Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Cromwell.
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Contact: Chelsea Bond

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