Diann Rust-Tierney

Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

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 Washington, D.C.- based 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. 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. She previously served the NCADP as a member of its Board of Directors.

Before becoming the NCADP Executive Director, Ms. Rust-Tierney was the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project in Washington, D.C. (1991 – 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. She also served the ACLU as its Chief Legislative/ Counsel Associate Director (1994 – 2000), and as its Legislative Counsel (1985 – 1991).

Ms. 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.