Diann Rust-Tierney is an expert in the movement to eliminate the death penalty in the U.S. In 2004 she became the Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP).
Founded in 1976 in response to a Supreme Court decision permitting executions to resume, the NCADP unifies an extensive network of affiliates, dedicated advocates and volunteers, and prominent national human and civil rights organizations to fight the imposition of the death penalty in the United States As NCADP Executive Director, Ms. Rust-Tierney manages and directs the program for the national organization and 100 affiliates seeking to change public policy on the death penalty. She serves as the national spokesperson for the organization and the movement to eliminate capital punishment.
Before coming to the NCADP, Ms. Rust-Tierney was the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project in Washington, D.C. from 1991 to 2004. As its lead strategist and spokesperson, she appeared on radio and television to educate the public about problems with the death penalty, and developed death penalty education materials, including a video on race and capital punishment. She developed and coordinated national strategy on capital punishment, and provided leadership to the death penalty abolitionist movement. She expanded efforts to build broad coalitions between the ACLU and new partners in order to spread the abolitionist message. She provided legal analyses of proposed state and federal death penalty legislation, and provided technical advice and assistance to affiliates on specific legislative proposals.
From 1994 to 2000, Ms. Rust-Tierney served the ACLU as its Chief Legislative Counsel/Associate Director. Among her responsibilities was assisting the ACLU Director in developing and implementing the office’s mission and vision. Additionally, she worked with the Director to manage the organization’s legislative program and supervise its lobbyists. She identified and managed potential legal issues for the local and national ACLU offices, and provided oversight on legislative strategies. She was the ACLU’s national spokesperson on various legal, civil rights and civil liberties issues.
From 1985 to 1991, Ms. Rust-Tierney was the ACLU’s Legislative Counsel, representing the organization before Congress and the news media on a range of civil liberties issues, including capital punishment. She also researched and wrote legal memoranda analyzing legislative proposals from a civil liberties perspective. From 1983 to 1985, Ms. Rust-Tierney was the Staff Attorney for the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., where she was responsible for congressional and administrative advocacy on women’s rights issues. In this capacity, she prepared and delivered testimony before Congress, participated in federal litigation to expand the rights of women in education and other areas, and analyzed legislative and administrative proposals from a women’s rights perspective.
Ms. Rust-Tierney holds a JD from the University of Maryland School of Law and a BA from the College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio. Follow Ms. Rust-Tierney on Twitter @diannatncadp.
Shouting from the Rooftops, Innocent and Executed: Four Chapters in the Life of America’s Death Penalty
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Report 
Beyond New Jersey: The Inevitability of Death Penalty Repeal (co-authored with Esther Brown)
The Birmingham News [December 16, 2007]
Abolishing the Death Penalty in the Era of Hope
Huffington Post [November 22, 2008]