Rachel C. King, 45; Lawyer for House Judiciary Subcommittee

Friday, September 5, 2008

Rachel Carol King, 45, a lawyer for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on crime and homeland security, died Aug. 25 of breast cancer at her summer home in Wayne, Maine. She lived in Washington.

Ms. King moved to Washington in 1998 and was a legislative counsel and lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked on limiting the scope of the USA Patriot Act. She joined the House subcommittee in 2007.

Ms. King, a longtime activist against the death penalty, was a founding member of Takoma Village Cohousing in Northwest Washington, where she lived.

She was born in Enid, Okla., and moved to Wayne as a child. She graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts and then worked for the Girl Scouts of America in Massachusetts while volunteering in the sanctuary movement, a religious and political movement that sheltered Central American refugees.

She received a law degree in 1990 from Northeastern University in Boston and received a master's degree in law in 1998 from Temple University in Philadelphia.

At the time of her death, she was in a master's degree program in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University.

During the 1990s, she worked as a public defender in Alaska and became the first executive director of Alaskans Against the Death Penalty.

She was also executive director of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union and was active in the state's Green Party.

Ms. King, a Quaker, was chairwoman of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which announced in July that it planned to give her its lifetime achievement award.

She was a photographer and a long-distance runner, and she competed in more than a dozen marathons, including the Boston Marathon. She also taught law classes at Howard University.

She wrote "Don't Kill in Our Names: Families of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty" (2003) and "Capital Consequences: Families of the Condemned Tell Their Stories" (2005). She self-published a novel, "Tales of the District," last year.

Survivors include her husband of three years, Richard G. McAlee of Washington; three stepdaughters, Lauren McAlee of Washington, Julia McAlee of Olympia, Wash., and Livia McAlee of Crofton; her mother and stepfather, Jill Howes and David Rogers of Wayne; her father, Charles H. King of Wayne; and two brothers.

-- Patricia Sullivan

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