All criminal defendants are constitutionally entitled to effective representation of counsel. Unfortunately, lack of resources, time, and skills often renders many capital counsel ineffective, denying numerous capital defendants that fundamental right and often resulting in a sentence of death.
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court indicated in Roper v. Simmons that the death penalty must be reserved for “the worst of the worst,” i.e., offenders who commit “‘the most serious crimes’ and whose extreme culpability makes them ‘the most deserving of execution.’” Quality of counsel, however, is a far better predictor of who gets sentenced to death and ultimately executed. The death penalty is arbitrary and capricious, in part because the “worst of the worst” sometimes describes the quality of representation for those facing it.
- Legal DocumentJuly 15, 2015
- CaseApril 27, 2016
New Report Investigates Courts in South Carolina that Convict and Jail Many Defendants Without a Lawyer PresentNews/Press ReleaseApril 4, 2016
Bills to Protect the Rights of Poor Defendants in Municipal Court Receive Broad Bipartisan Support, Head to the Governor’s DeskNews/Press ReleaseMay 3, 2016
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PA Supreme Court Rules That Poor Defendants Have the Right to Challenge Inadequate Legal Representation in CourtNews/Press ReleaseSeptember 29, 2016
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