OUR ADVISORY BOARD |
Bob Balaban is an award-winning actor-producer-writer-director.
He currently serves on the boards of The Exoneration Initiative and Guild Hall in East Hampton, and was honorary Chairman of the board of the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2014. He previously served on the board of the Museum of the Moving Image.
He produced and directed (off-Broadway, national tour, Court TV movie) The Exonerated, a docudrama about the lives of six innocent men and women who served up to twenty-two years on death row.
Martin Garbus is one of the country’s top trial lawyers, as well as an author and sought-after speaker. Time magazine called him “legendary” and “one of the greatest trial lawyers in the country.” The Guardian, declared him “one of the world’s finest trial lawyers.”
An expert at every level of civil and criminal trial, and litigation, he has appeared before the United States Supreme Court in leading First Amendment cases, and his cases have established precedents there and in other courts throughout the country.
A case he filed, Goldberg v. Kelly, that resulted in a favorable 5-4 Supreme Court opinion was described by Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan as “arguably the most important due process case of the 20th Century.”
Garbus and his legal achievements have been recognized by many national publications and with listings in both Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Best Lawyers in America. An international observer in foreign elections, he was also selected by President Jimmy Carter to observe and report on the elections in Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Sister Helen Prejean
Sister Helen Prejean joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille in 1957 (now known as the Congregation of St. Joseph) and received a B.A. in English and Education from St. Mary’s Dominican College, New Orleans in 1962. In 1973, she earned an M.A. in Religious Education from St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Canada.
She has been the Religious Education Director at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in New Orleans, the Formation Director for her religious community, and has taught junior and senior high school students. Sister Helen began her prison ministry in 1981 and dedicated her life to the poor of New Orleans. While living in the St. Thomas housing project, she became pen pals with Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers, sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison. Upon Sonnier’s request, Sister Helen repeatedly visited him as his spiritual advisor. In doing so, her eyes were opened to the Louisiana execution process.
Sister Helen turned her experiences into a book, Dead Man Walking, that was number one on the New York Times Best Seller List for 31 weeks. It was made into a major motion picture starring Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen and Sean Penn as a death row inmate. It was also the basis for a new opera, composed by Jake Heggie, libretto by Terrence McNally.
Today, Sister Helen educates the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing and writing. As the founder of “Survive,” a victim’s advocacy group in New Orleans, she continues to counsel not only inmates on death row, but the families of murder victims, as well. She has served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty from 1985–1995, and has served as Chairperson of the Board from 1993–1995. She is also a member of Amnesty International and an honorary member of Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation.