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 DocumentApril 27, 2016
- Legal DocumentJuly 15, 2015
- CaseApril 27, 2016
PA Supreme Court Rules That Poor Defendants Have the Right to Challenge Inadequate Legal Representation in CourtNews/Press ReleaseSeptember 29, 2016
- News/Press ReleaseApril 10, 2017
- News/Press ReleaseJuly 15, 2015
- Blog Post - Speak FreelyOctober 12, 2017
ACLU Challenges South Carolina Municipalities that Deny Public Defenders to Poor People Who Are Then Prosecuted, Convicted, and JailedNews/Press ReleaseOctober 12, 2017
- CaseOctober 12, 2017
- Legal DocumentOctober 12, 2017
ACLU Challenges Miami-Dade Court’s Removal of Public Defenders from People Facing Criminal Charges, Forcing Them to Represent ThemselvesNews/Press ReleaseSeptember 28, 2017