Former professor fights death penalty

Ed Bronson, a former political science professor, speaks about his experience in the criminal justice field at Selvester’s Cafe-by-the-Creek on Friday.Photo credit: Alex Boesch


A former political science professor traded his love for teaching for a life of testifying in court.

Ed Bronson, a retired Chico State professor and expert witness, gave a presentation titled “My Life Fighting the Death Penalty” Friday inside Selvester’s Cafe-by-the-Creek.


He has testified about 300 times since he discovered that he enjoyed trials, he said.

“So this old fuddy-duddy college professor was getting involved in these horrible, indeed horrendous cases that you could imagine, and over time I then continued to be involved in such cases,“ Bronson said.


He has testified in most of the death penalty cases in our country, he said.

“It’s not that I’m all that good, because sometimes I rise to the very hikes of mediocrity, but at least I’ve done so many, and I’ve been around so long,” Bronson said.

He is currently involved in eight or nine cases around the country, he said. He has a hard time saying “no.”

“I mean, who can say no to the Boston Marathon?” Bronson said.

He gets very involved in the cases he testifies for, he said.

“It’s sort of how I define myself, especially now that I’m not teaching anymore, which has been my real love,” Bronson said.


Bronson is a local legend, said Alan Gibson, political science professor.


“He’s the real deal,” Gibson said. “I mean Ed is not kidding. He’s the person they call first to do these change-venue capital crime studies cases.”


Bronson has trained and been an inspiration to many students, he said. Prominent California judges and major judges from the Chico area attended a recent reunion for the Community Legal Information Center, which Bronson founded.


Katelyn Williams, president of the Criminal Justice Student Association, participated in Bronson’s presentation.


The most interesting thing Bronson discussed was the number of influential cases he has testified in, Williams said.


“I knew that there were a few, but I had no idea just how many, so that was great,” she said. “And to hear the stories of when he was here teaching at Chico State. It really makes you think how great it is to be a student here.”


Williams had the opportunity to go on prison tours in places like the San Quentin State Prison through the Criminal Justice Student Association, she said.


“It is kind of interesting to be there in death row and have this expert talk about how it’s so wrong and everything when I’ve seen both sides and studied the cases that are pretty horrible,” Williams said.




Amanda Hovik can be reached at [email protected] or @AmandaHovik on Twitter.