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BC Expert: The Death Penalty

Kari Hong

510 384-4524 (Cell);

Kari Hong’s areas of specialization are immigration law, immigration consequences of criminal convictions, criminal law, family law and LGBT rights. Prior to joining Boston College, Hong operated her own firm with offices in California and Oregon where she specialized in immigration and criminal law. Hong has prepared more than 90 actions in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, representing non-citizens in asylum, removal defense, citizenship claims, and criminal defendants accused of white collar crimes, violent felonies and drug-related offenses. She has prepared more than 40 state criminal appeals in the state of California. An expert in family law and marriage, Hong's scholarship focuses on the parent-child relationship with a particular emphasis on how family doctrines are altered or distorted when applied in other legal areas. Hong’s articles have been published in the University of Virginia Law Review and the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal and have been cited by the New Jersey Supreme Court.



Nebraska became the 19th state to abolish the death penalty, continuing a necessary trend says a Boston College law professor who used to represent inmates on California’s death row.

“States are quietly realizing the death penalty does not work,” says Boston College Law Assistant Professor Kari Hong, a former criminal defense attorney. “As a financial matter, it’s a waste of resources. In an age where money matters and how it’s spent matters, this is no longer an attractive option because it’s simply not effective. It’s not worth the effort.”

Hong, who last week wrote an anti-capital punishment op-ed in the Boston Globe which pointed out the inadequacies of lethal injectionsays other states such as Montana, Arkansas, and Delaware are already moving in the abolition direction.

“Twenty states have a moratorium and I think we’re at a time now in our country where we’re going to revisit this in a way where we will ultimately join every other Western country and get rid of it,” says Hong. “The viability of lethal injection has limited days. The drugs just aren’t available anymore. Some executions are taking three hours to fulfill. It’s been called being burned at the stake from the inside out. The sedatives are no longer available or strong enough to mask the pain. Its brutal, it’s botched, and untenable.

“There is still a stronghold of a small number of states who are dedicated to the death penalty but they’re responding by returning to the more brutal forms of execution that’s available to them,” says Hong. “And I think that’s going to backfire when people will realize how brutal and barbaric this execution is.

"In the next year or two, this issue will be exploding in terms of states falling like dominoes and ending the death penalty.”



Note to media: Contact information for additional Boston College faculty sources on a range of subjects is available at:  /offices/pubaf/journalist/experts.html


Sean Hennessey
Boston College News & Public Affairs
617-552-3630 (o)
617-943-4323 (c)