- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 7, 2007

Fred W. Bennett, 65, death-penalty lawyer

Fred Warren Bennett, a defense attorney known for his work on death-penalty cases, died June 1 in a car accident in Pasadena. He was 65.

Mr. Bennett worked on the cases of two of the last four inmates executed in Maryland. He also won the release of a condemned man whose conviction was overturned.

He graduated from the American University in 1963. He then attended George Washington University Law School, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1966 and a master’s degree in 1967.

Mr. Bennett was the district public defender for Prince George’s County from 1978 to 1980 and federal public defender for the Maryland district from 1980 to 1992.

He also was executive director of the Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties’ Continuing Legal Education Committee and a member of the Maryland Pattern Criminal Jury Instruction Committee.

Lawyers, judges and family members described Mr. Bennett as tireless and tenacious. His law partner, Gary Bair, said Mr. Bennett will be remembered as a top-notch lawyer for many reasons, including his fight against the death penalty.

Mr. Bennett’s wife of 41 years, Susan, said her husband didn’t think that the state had a right to take a life — partly because of his religious faith.

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