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AUTHOR EVENT Valena Beety: Manifesting Justice 6PM WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1
IN CONVERSATION WITH SARAH VIREN
LOCATION | IN-PERSON: PHOENIX
REGISTRATION REQUIRED. A limited number of free tickets are available. You can also support Changing Hands by purchasing the book via Eventbrite below, or by contributing what you can. A suggested contribution of $10 or $20—whatever you can afford—will help keep our virtual event series sustainable and accessible to all. Thank you!
Former federal prosecutor and innocence litigator Valena Beety discusses her latest in conversation with Sarah Viren.
We're limiting attendance to allow for social distancing, so registration via Eventbrite is required for admission.
Masks are required.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Through the lens of her work with the Innocence Movement and her client Leigh Stubbs—a woman denied a fair trial in 2000 largely due to her sexual orientation - innocence litigator, activist, and founder of the West Virginia Innocence Project Valena Beety examines the failures in America’s criminal legal system and the reforms necessary to eliminate wrongful convictions—particularly with regards to women, the queer community, and people of color…
When Valena Beety first became a federal prosecutor, her goal was to protect victims, especially women, from cycles of violence. What she discovered was that not only did prosecutions often fail to help victims, they frequently relied on false information, forensic fraud, and police and prosecutor misconduct.
Seeking change, Beety began working in the Innocence Movement, helping to free factually innocent people through DNA testing and criminal justice reform. Manifesting Justice focuses on the shocking story of Beety’s client Leigh Stubbs—a young, queer woman in Mississippi, convicted of a horrific crime she did not commit because of her sexual orientation. Beety weaves Stubbs’s harrowing narrative through the broader story of a broken criminal justice system where defendants—including disproportionate numbers of women of color and queer individuals—are convicted due to racism, prejudice, coerced confessions, and false identifications.
Drawing on interviews with both innocence advocates and wrongfully convicted women, along with Beety’s own experiences as an expert litigator and a queer woman, Manifesting Justice provides a unique outsider/insider perspective. Beety expands our notion of justice to include not just people who are factually innocent, but those who are over-charged, pressured into bad plea deals, and over-sentenced. The result is a riveting and timely book that not only advocates for reforming the conviction process—it will transform our very ideas of crime and punishment, what innocence is, and who should be free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Valena Beety is a former federal prosecutor and innocence litigator who represented Leigh Stubbs in post-conviction. She has successfully exonerated wrongfully convicted clients, obtained presidential grants of clemency for drug offenders, served as an elected board member of the national Innocence Network, and was appointed commissioner on the West Virginia Governor’s Indigent Defense Commission. She is currently a Professor of Law at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the Deputy Director of the Academy for Justice, a criminal justice center at the law school that connects research with policy reform. Previously, she founded and directed the West Virginia Innocence Project at the West Virginia University College of Law and practiced as a Senior Staff Attorney at the Mississippi Innocence Project, representing clients on death row. Visit her online at ValenaBeety.com.
ABOUT THE MODERATOR
Sarah Viren is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and author of the essay collection, Mine, which won the River Teeth Book Prize and the GLCA New Writers Award and was named one of LitHub's favorite books of 2018. Her next book, a memoir, is forthcoming from Scribner. She's an assistant professor at Arizona State University, where she teaches creative nonfiction.