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Stanley Herr

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Stanley Sholom Herr was born on Aug. 7, 1945, in Newark. He graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School, and also earned a doctorate in law from Oxford University. Dr. Herr argued several noted cases on the civil rights of people with disabilities, among them the one that led to the closing of the infamous Willowbrook Developmental Center on Staten Island in 1987. One of his earliest jobs was with the National Office of Legal Aid and Defenders Association, where he was a lead lawyer in a case where the Supreme Court affirmed the principle that a child is entitled to a publicly supported education regardless of impairment. The Supreme Court's decision led Congress to pass the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (later called the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act). In adopting the legislation, lawmakers found that one million children were totally excluded from school.

Dr. Herr was a leading opponent of executing the persons with intellectual disabilities in capital crimes. His victory in a legal battle in 1989 caused Maryland to bar the execution of retarded prisoners, only the second state, after Georgia, to do so. He also filed Supreme Court briefs opposing Texas' plans to execute Johnny Paul Penry, whose I.Q. had been measured at less than 70. In June, on the basis of flawed instructions to his jury, the justices overturned Mr. Penry's death sentence.

During the Clinton administration, he was named a Kennedy fellow at the White House, where he was an adviser on disability and homelessness. He was a law professor at the University of Maryland from 1983 until his death, and president of the American Association on Mental Retardation in 1998-99.


-Taken from http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/28/us/stanley-herr-56-dies-aided-the-retarded.html

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