OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Civil Rights defender to give 2009 Pauling Peace Lecture

04/08/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – For 26 years, the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Memorial Lecture for World Peace series has brought famous speakers to Oregon State University, from civil rights leader Grace Lee Boggs to Nobel Peace Prize Winner Betty Williams.

This year’s lecturer is Steven T. Wax, the federal public defender for Oregon, who has been cited for his efforts to protect human rights and Constitutional guarantees, in particular through his defense of Brandon Mayfield and seven of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Wax will speak at 7:30 p.m., April 21, in the LaSells Stewart Center’s Austin Auditorium, 26th Street and Western Boulevard, Corvallis. The event is free and open to the public.

Wax was a public defender for 29 years before he represented Mayfield. He also was a key part of the Brooklyn, N.Y., district attorney’s prosecution of David Berkowitz, known more commonly as “The Son of Sam.”

A cum laude graduate of Colgate University and Harvard Law School, Wax has taught at the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College and has served as an ethics prosecutor for the Oregon State Bar.

Mayfield was the Portland attorney of Muslim faith who was erroneously arrested and imprisoned because of FBI confusion of his fingerprint with one found at the site of the Madrid railway station bombings in 2004.

Wax has recounted the many hurdles and obstacles he and his colleagues encountered in their attempt to defend the “enemy combatants” in a book entitled “Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror.”

The OSU lectureship honors Linus Pauling, an OSU graduate and two-time Nobel Prize laureate, and his wife, Ava Helen Pauling, a noted peace activist. It is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts.