Centenary marks Constitution Day with examination of death penalty

SHREVEPORT, LA — Criminal defense attorney Meghan Shapiro will speak at Centenary College's annual Constitution Day observation on Thursday, September 15 at 11:10 a.m. in the Whited Room. Shapiro, a defense attorney for the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, will discuss the human side of capital punishment and how it affects us as a country, a southern state, a community, and as individuals.

"Capital punishment has affected many lives in our country, and for a very long time Caddo Parish has had an outsized role in both doling out death sentences and suffering their consequences," says Shapiro. "The death penalty has been found both unconstitutional and constitutional at different points in our nation's history. Currently, its constitutionality is being questioned for many reasons, including geographic and racial disparities that make application of the death penalty arbitrary and uneven."

A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and the College of William and Mary, Shapiro has been working on capital punishment issues for a decade in the American South. Last year, she opened the first Shreveport office for the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, and she works through this organization to represent individuals facing the death penalty across the state of Louisiana, mainly at the trial level.

Shapiro is a graduate of, and actively involved in, Gideon's Promise, a national organization supporting and training indigent defenders from a perspective of civil rights and equal protection. She was also recently named a "Rising Voice" at Shreveport's first Reconciliation Dinner.

Constitution Day commemorates the ratification of the United States Constitution in September 1787 and is celebrated across the country with local events focusing on constitutional history and citizenship. Shapiro's Constitution Day talk, "The Death Penalty in Perspective: The Human Side of a Constitutional Quandary," is free and open to the public.

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