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University of Iowa News Release

March 23, 2006

Honken Trial Judge To Discuss Death Penalty Process In UI Law Lecture

Mark W. Bennett, the federal judge who presided over the trial that saw Dustin Honken receive Iowa's first death penalty in more than 40 years, will discuss his observations of the Honken case and reflect on the death penalty process in a lecture at the University of Iowa College of Law at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in Room 225 of the Boyd Law Building.

Admission to Bennett's lecture, "Life in the Balance: Reflections of a Federal District Court Judge on Two Death Penalty Trials," is free and open to the public.

As the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Bennett presided over the trial of Honken for his role in the murder of five people, including two children, in his effort to thwart a federal investigation into his drug trafficking enterprise. A separate jury later determined that Honken's girlfriend, Angela Johnson, should also receive death for her participation in the crimes.  Johnson is the first woman to be sentenced to death in a federal court since 1953, the year that Ethel Rosenberg was executed.

Bennett has devoted much of his time over the last five years to these cases, publishing approximately 30 decisions relating to the matters. He was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and became chief judge of the Northern District of Iowa in 2000, presiding over the busiest federal trial court in the nation. He has spoken throughout the U.S. on topics such as federal litigation, civil rights, employment law, professionalism, and courtroom technology.

Bennett has taught courses at the UI College of Law, Drake University Law School and the University of Akron law school. He received his law degree from Drake and is co-author of the book, "Employment Relationships Law & Practice."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu.