The death penalty in America will be discussed during a Lunch with the League meeting at noon today (Tuesday, April 6).
The virtual meeting is hosted by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge. It will feature Marshall Jensen, a federal public defender for the Middle District of Tennessee. His talk is titled “‘Spaces of Sorrow Only God Can Touch’: The Death Penalty in Modern America.”
“Most people think that those on death row must be the worst of the worst,” Jensen said in a press release. “But when we examine who ends up on death row in America, what they share is they almost uniformly tend to be poor, mentally ill, intellectually disabled, or suffer from some form of organic brain damage.”
Having served as a federal public defender for the Middle District of Tennessee in the Capital Habeas Unit since January 2020, Jensen represents people sentenced to death in their final, federal appeals before execution, the press release said. Prior to this work, he served as an assistant public defender at the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office, where he represented indigent individuals in Knox County criminal courts.
Jensen is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Tennessee Law Review. Before law school, he worked at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, where he directed Catholic Charities’ refugee resettlement program and worked extensively with forced migrants, the press release said. In addition to administering the domestic resettlement program, his roles included representing clients in immigration proceedings as a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative and assisting unaccompanied minors in federal custody.
Jensen holds a master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, where he received a David L. Boren National Security Education Program fellowship, and he completed intensive Arabic language training in Morocco, the press release said. He graduated from Lewis and Clark College with undergraduate degrees in history and political science. A believer in the preferential option for the poor, Jensen said he is proud to be a public defender.
You don’t have to be a member of the League of Women Voters to attend today’s talk. Members will automatically receive a link to the live presentation. Nonmembers should contact [email protected] to request the link. A couple of days after the presentation, you may view the recorded session on the League’s website at https://my.lwv.org/tennessee/oak-ridge.