The Defense Team in Capital Cases

By Jill Miller / Hofstra Law Review, on 1 January 2003

Fairness for those defendants facing the ultimate punishment of death requires that they be afforded zealous advocacy by competent counsel, and that counsel be provided with the resources necessary to effectively represent their clients. Stating that “[o]ur capital system is haunted by the demon of error, error in determining guilt, and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die,” Governor Ryan cited many deficiencies in the justice system in Illinois, including poor lawyering and inadequate resources for defense counsel, in arriving at his decision to commute all death sentences. Over the years the imposition of the death penalty has too often been a function of unqualified counsel or counsel who lacked the resources, including time, funding, and provision of investigative, expert and supportive services, to competently represent their clients, rather than a reasoned decision based on the circumstances of the crime and the background and character of the defendant.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Legal Representation,