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Jeanne Bishop
Public defender, human rights activist, and author of Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister's Killer

Jeanne Bishop is the sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, who was shot to death at age 25 along with her husband and their unborn child. Since the murders of her family members, Jeanne Bishop has been a prominent advocate for gun violence prevention, abolition of the death penalty, exoneration of the innocent and the role of faith in the debate over executions. Jeanne Bishop is the author of Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister's Killer.

On gun violence prevention, Ms. Bishop volunteers with the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence lobbying in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures. Her opinion pieces on the gun issue have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and, with co-author Mark Osler, law professor at University of St. Thomas School of Law, on CNN.com. Ms. BIshop's gun violence activism has been profiled online by WBEZ, the Chicago National Public Radio station ("Dear Chicago: Keep the grip on gun laws," March 15, 2011).

On the death penalty, Ms. Bishop writes, speaks and advocates nationally and internationally against executions. As a board member of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, an organization of murder victims' family members who oppose the death penalty, Ms. Bishop has spoken against the death penalty in dozens of U.S. States, France, Ireland, Japan and Mongolia. She appears in the death penalty documentaries Deadline, The Innocent and Too Flawed to Fix. Her essay in the book "Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning" (Wiiliam B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2004) was described by reviewer David Dow as "the best reason to buy the book." She is also the author of an award-winning article on forgiveness and the death penalty in Lutheran Woman Today (Associated Church Press award of excellence 2003). Her lobbying efforts helped convince Illinois Gov. Quinn to sign a death penalty abolition bill into law in 2011.

On exoneration of the innocent, Ms. Bishop serves on the Advisory Board of Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions and as an officer of the Chicago Innocence Project. She worked with a team of lawyers from her former law firm, Mayer Brown, on the case of Verneal Jimerson, one of the Ford Heights Four who were exonerated of their wrongful convictions for the rape and murder of a young couple. Ms. Bishop's role in that effort is captured in the book A Promise of Justice: The 14 Year Fight to Save Four Innocent Men by David Protess and Robert Warden (Hyperion 1998).

On the role of faith in the debate over executions, Ms. Bishop collaborates with author, lawyer, blogger and law professor Mark Osler on a unique project juxtaposing Christian faith and beliefs about the death penalty: a trial of Jesus under modern death penalty law. Osler and Bishop have presented the trial across the country, including the death penalty states of Virginia, Tennessee and Oklahoma. The trial has drawn widespread coverage, ranging from CNN to Perez Hilton, and can be seen on YouTube. Ms. Bishop's faith-based forgiveness of her sister's killer has been profiled in the Chicago Tribune cover story, "Radical Forgiveness in the Easter Season" (April 23, 2011).

A graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and Northwestern University School of Law, Ms. Bishop also attended Yale Law School as a Visiting Student. She is an adjunct professor of law at Northwestern and a recipient of its alumni award for outstanding public service. She is a co-recipient of the Brigid Award bestowed by the humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide on women of compassion and justice. Ms. Bishop defends the indigent as an Assistant Public Defender in the Office of the Cook County (IL) Public Defender. A third-generation elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Ms. Bishop is a member of Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago.

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