We were saddened to learn yesterday of the death of Hugo Bedau, who was widely known for his work on the death penalty. As MVFHR Executive Director Renny Cushing wrote, "Hugo was such a giant, a hero and an inspiration, a teacher in every sense of the word. All of us who work for human rights and the abolition of the death penalty mourn today."
The Death Penalty Information Center has this notice:
Dr. Bedau had been the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University, and is best known for his work on capital punishment. Dr. Bedau frequently testified about the death penalty before the U.S. Congress and many state legislatures. He authored several books about the death penalty, including The Death Penalty in America (1964; 4th edition, 1997), The Courts, the Constitution, and Capital Punishment (1977), Death is Different (1987), and Killing as Punishment (2004), and co-authored In Spite of Innocence (1992). This last book, written with Prof. Michael Radelet of the University of Colorado and Constance Putnam (Dr. Bedau's wife), contained one of the best early collections of people who had been wrongly convicted in death penalty cases. In 1997, Bedau received the August Vollmer Award of the American Society of Criminology, and in 2003 he received the Roger Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Massachusetts. Dr. Bedau was a founding member of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.