Scott Turow, an attorney and best-selling author of Presumed Innocent and eight other books, will be this year’s Tresolini Lecturer. Turow’s talk, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, in Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall, is titled “Confessions of a Death Penalty Agnostic.”
It is free, open to the public, and no tickets are required.
The talk is expected to provide a balanced view of the volatile topic of capital punishment. A former prosecutor, Turow reluctantly supported the death penalty but came to a different point of view following his experiences as a defense lawyer and a member of the Illinois Capital Punishment Commission.
“Between his writing and his experience in the courtroom, both prosecuting and advocating for defendants, Scott Turow is uniquely situated to present a thoughtful and sobering account of the law and politics of capital punishment in the United States in 2011,” says Brian Pinaire, associate professor of political science and organizer of the Tresolini Lecture Series, which was established in 1978 in memory of distinguished Lehigh teacher and scholar, Rocco Tresolini (1920-1967).
Turow will be the latest in a long line of legal luminaries who have delivered the Tresolini Lecture at Lehigh, including former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, former Vietnam War-era governmental strategic analyst Daniel Ellsberg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., attorney David Boies, and Innocence Project founder Barry Scheck.
The author of several award-winning books of fiction and non-fiction, Turow has also frequently contributed essays and op-ed pieces to magazines and newspapers. His books have been translated into more than 25 languages and have sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. His recently released Innocent, is the sequel to Presumed Innocent. His non-fiction book, Ultimate Punishment, is a reflection on the death penalty.
Aside from writing, Turow continues to work as an attorney. He has been a partner in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, a national law firm, since 1986, concentrating on white collar criminal defense, while also devoting a substantial part of his time to pro bono matters.
In one notable case, he represented Alejandro Hernandez in the successful appeal that preceded Hernandez’s release after nearly 12 years in prison—including five on death row—for a murder he did not commit.