WATCH THE AWARD PRESENTATION ON YOUTUBE (Thursday, October 15 at 7 p.m.)
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CDPL is proud to announce that Malcolm “Tye” Hunter is the winner of this year’s J. Kirk Osborn Award for outstanding leadership in capital defense. This year’s ceremony honoring Tye will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 15. The event is online. Simply go to cdpl.org and follow the link on our homepage to join us in celebrating Tye’s good work.
Though we can’t be together in person, we’ve done our best to make this an engaging event that reminds our community of the power and importance of capital defense work. There will be an appearance by a nationally known capital defense leader, as well as a moving musical performance. You don’t have to register, but we hope you will donate to CDPL’s work.
Suggested donation levels are:
We welcome donations of any amount, either in advance or during the event.
Tye Hunter: A career fighting the death penalty
Tye has devoted four decades to advancing indigent defense and fighting the death penalty. Tye worked as an assistant public defender in Fayetteville and then came to the Appellate Defender’s Office. He was the second director of OAD and while serving in that leadership role, he represented dozens of capital cases, winning new trials and new sentencing hearings for many. Tye appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court in McKoy v. North Carolina. Tye’s victory in this single case resulted in relief for nearly 50 men and women who had received unconstitutional death sentences.
Tye was the first director of the N.C. Office of Indigent Defense Services and created the infrastructure that ensured qualified counsel, supported capital defense teams, and, not surprisingly, saw a dramatic drop in the number of death sentences returned in our state.
Tye next served as CDPL’s executive director from 2009 to 2013. He shepherded the office during the early years of the Racial Justice Act litigation. Tye was personally part of the RJA team that won relief for Marcus Robinson and three other Cumberland County capital defendants following two evidentiary hearings under the RJA. During those hearings, Tye’s fierce advocacy and famous wit were on full display and contributed greatly to these enormous victories.
Tye continued to represent death-sentenced clients after leaving CDPL, including Rayford Burke, another RJA client. Tye’s oral argument in the N.C. Supreme Court was a model of appellate advocacy and this past June, the court granted relief to Mr. Burke.
The J. Kirk Osborn Award
J. Kirk Osborn was one of the giants of the capital defense community. Kirk defended more than a dozen capital cases and never had a client sentenced to death. His advocacy and deep compassion for his clients saved many lives, and inspired other attorneys to follow in his footsteps. Each year, the Center for Death Penalty Litigation honors Kirk’s legacy by presenting the J. Kirk Osborn Award for lifelong zealous advocacy, compassion for indigent men and women facing the death penalty, and leadership among capital defense attorneys.