November 4, 2019 ALL

The 2019 Suopis Lecture | The Machinery of Death: Exploring the Death Penalty’s Many Moving Parts with Bevlynn Sledge ’09, J.D.

The Department of Political Science is proud to announce the 2019 installment of the Suopis Lecture Series. Join the John Carroll and broader Cleveland community on Thursday, November 7 at 5 P.M. in the Donahue Auditorium (Dolan Center) for “The Machinery of Death: Exploring the Death Penalty’s Many Moving Parts,” a talk by Bevlynn Sledge ’09, J.D.

President Trump’s administration has reinstated the federal death penalty at the same time that lawmakers around the country are skirmishing over whether to abolish the death penalty in their home states. Right here in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine has temporarily halted executions after a federal court held that Ohio’s lethal injection method is equivalent to simultaneously waterboarding and burning a person alive. Amid this ongoing debate, this talk explores the framework for implementing the death penalty in the United States, referred to by former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun as “the machinery of death.”

The machinery of death, which operates from arrest to conviction and ultimately execution, has a lot of moving parts that most people are unaware of. There are constitutional safe-guards to prevent wrongful executions, but how well do they work?Can someone be executed even if they prove they are actually innocent? What social and political pressures make it difficult for states to proceed with executions and to halt them? These are just a few questions this talk will explore. The hope is that this talk will lead those in attendance to ask more questions of their own.

Bevlynn Sledge, J.D. is a graduate of John Carroll University’s Class of 2009 and Cornell Law School’s Class of 2012. She is currently a writ attorney at the Northern District of Ohio Federal Public Defender’s Office where she works in the Capital Habeas Unit exclusively representing death-sentenced prisoners.

For more information, please contact Milena F. Machado at 216.397.4311 or