Counsel for the Despised and the Condemned

Capital Defense Attorneys

Authored by: Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Routledge Handbook on Capital Punishment

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138651579
eBook ISBN: 9781315624723
Adobe ISBN:


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United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once noted that a defense attorney’s work “is a crucial component of the system of protections designed to ensure that capital punishment is administered with some degree of rationality” (Strickland v. Washington, 1984, p. 715 [Marshall, J., dissenting]). As the former capital defense lawyer Marshall knew, defense attorneys play an essential role in capital cases. In such cases, the quality of legal representation can literally make a difference between life and death (see, e.g., Powell v. Alabama, 1932, p. 69).

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