National Coalition to

Abolish the Death Penalty

90 million Americans believe the death penalty is wrong. We mobilize them to end the death penalty state by state.
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Executive Director and Board of Directors

Diann Rust-TierneyDiann Rust-Tierney

Executive Director

Diann Rust-Tierney became the Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in 2004.  She is an experienced non-profit manager with thirty years of public policy and litigation advocacy.  She manages the operations of the organization and directs programs for the organization and its 100 affiliate organizations seeking to change public policy on the death penalty.

Previously, Rust-Tierney served as the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project.  Before that, she served as the Chief Legislative Counsel, and Associate Director of the Washington Office of the American Civil Liberties Union.  There she supervised six senior legislative counsel and lobbyists and managed the civil rights and civil liberties legislative program.  During her tenure at the ACLU, she was the lead advocate on capital punishment on Capitol Hill, coordinating a coalition of national organizations on the issue.  She was also the lead lobbyist on a broad portfolio of issues ranging from criminal justice policy, women’s rights, civil rights and legislation to enhance and protect individual rights regardless of sexual orientation.

Prior to joining the staff at the ACLU, she engaged in litigation and public policy advocacy to advance the rights of women and girls at the National Women’s Law Center.  Rust-Tierney received her undergraduate degree in political science from the College of Wooster in Ohio and her law degree from the University Of Maryland School Of Law.


James RocapJames E. Rocap III


James E. Rocap III is a partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he is a member of the Litigation Department. Mr. Rocap’s practice focuses primarily on complex civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on large insurance coverage disputes. Throughout 38 years of legal practice, he has developed rich experience in a range of complex civil and white-collar criminal defense matters. He is a #1 Ranked Attorney in Chambers USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers; DC Insurance: Insurer Firms. Mr. Rocap contributes to several pro bono activities. He is the chair of the Firm's Pro Bono committee, acted as lead attorney in two separate representations of death-row inmates, one for more than 24 years, and on a regular basis he provides legal services to the homeless through the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, on whose Board he serves. He also served on the committee for the Senior Lawyer Public Interest Project of the DC Bar Pro Bono Program and is a Board member of the DC Access to Justice Foundation. Mr. Rocap is one of the attorney authors of the Manual for Complex Insurance Coverage Litigation. He has also been active in District of Columbia Bar matters, including past service as Chair of the Sections Council of the DC Bar.



Chris RutledgeChris Rutledge


Chris Rutledge is the Program Manager of Income Impact Area at AARP Foundation and a former Development Director at the NCADP. He is a non-profit professional with over a decade of experience in all aspects of fundraising and more than 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Mr. Rutledge has institutional fundraising experience, including six- and seven-figure grants and gifts from foundations, the Federal Government, corporations, international bodies and labor unions. He also has had major gift success including five- and six-figure gifts.  He has extensive program and volunteer managerial experience, including supervision of over 100 grantees and program sites around the nation.


Cecilia Garcia Cecilia Garcia


Cecilia Garcia is a former Senior Advisor at the Benton Foundation. Ms. Garcia first joined the Benton Foundation in 1997. Prior to joining the Benton Foundation, she served as Executive Director of Connect for Kids. Her broad range of experience includes work as a press secretary for a Member of the U.S House of Representatives. As communications director for a national Latino nonprofit organization, she worked to create greater avenues of access for the Latino community into the political process through leadership development programs, legislative conferences, a seven-site electronic town meeting and the creation of the organization's web site. Cecilia coordinated state outreach activities, developed teacher training models for classroom use, and worked on the CD-ROM version of "Chicano: History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement," a four-part PBS documentary produced by the National Latino Communication Center. She began her extensive career in communications producing and directing public and community affairs programming at WTVS, Detroit's public television station. Cecilia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wayne State University in 1988.


Steve Hall Steve Hall

Steve Hall is the Communications Specialist at Texas Defender Service. He was the founding director of The StandDown Texas Project from 2000 to 2014, which focused on identifying and advocating best practices in the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on capital punishment. He served as chief of staff to the Attorney General of Texas from 1983-1991, and an administrator of the Texas Resource Center from 1993-1995. Mr. Hall has worked for the U.S. Congress and several Texas legislators. He has worked as a public affairs/public relations counselor for private industry, nonprofits, and political clients. Mr. Hall has served as communications director for two statewide political campaigns in Texas. He is a former journalist and a recipient of a Texas AP Broadcasters award for investigative reporting.

David Dodge

David Dodge

David Dodge is the founder and CEO of Sports Officiating Consulting, LLC, a California-based consulting firm whose mission is to assist sports officiating organizations in improving their officiating programs. He is the founder and former president & CEO of PHT Services, Ltd., (PHTS), a South Carolina-based risk management services organization serving the state’s not-for-profit hospitals and health care systems. For three decades, David officiated NCAA Division I basketball including 18 years working NCAA Basketball Tournaments. Following the completion of a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee, David began his three years’ tenure, as a Captain in the Medical Services Corp of the U.S. Army. He attained a certificate in hospital administration from Duke University while serving in various positions at the South Carolina Hospital Association before joining PHTS in 1987. David has a proven track record of developing, implementing, and managing strategic alliances in the healthcare, insurance and officiating industries. He served on the board of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) and in 2010, was recognized by the NASO with the Mel Narol Medallion Award for his leadership in shaping the Association’s alliance strategy. David currently resides in Carlsbad, California.


Erin P. Johnson Erin P. Johnson

Erin Johnson is an attorney, advocate, activist and artist based in Washington, DC. Originally from the great state of Michigan (the first state to abolish the death penalty), Erin is a staunch death penalty abolitionist. "The expense and legal barriers to assuring truth in administering a death sentence make this policy one of our nation's longest-standing miscarriages of justice. Now is the time for death penalty abolitionists to collaborate and capitalize on increasing societal disapproval of the death penalty to end it." Erin is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Howard University School of Law, where she currently served as the Assistant Clinical Director. Prior to returning to her alma mater, Erin served in legal and policy roles in both the D.C. and the federal governments throughout the judicial, legislative and executive branches. She also currently serves as the Criminal Justice Chair for the DC NAACP Branch and as an Organizer for The Sanctuaries, a D.C. based interfaith arts collaborative.