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.
- CaseApril 27, 2016
- News/Press ReleaseJuly 15, 2015
- Legal DocumentApril 27, 2016
- Legal DocumentJuly 15, 2015
- News/Press ReleaseMarch 24, 2016
ACLU of Virginia Urges Supreme Court of Virginia to Adopt Proposed Rules that Will End Virginia’s System of Trial by AmbushNews/Press ReleaseMay 27, 2015
PA Supreme Court Rules That Poor Defendants Have the Right to Challenge Inadequate Legal Representation in CourtNews/Press ReleaseSeptember 29, 2016
Poor parents have right to representation when challenging private adoptions, NJ Supreme Court rulesNews/Press ReleaseJuly 28, 2016
- News/Press ReleaseJune 21, 2016
- News/Press ReleaseJune 20, 2016
- News/Press ReleaseJune 17, 2016