Why an Independent Appointed Authority Is Necessary to Choose Counsel for Indigent People in Capital Punishment Cases

By Ronald J. Tabak / Hofstra Law Review, on 1 January 2003

The revised ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases require that an agency “independent of the judiciary” be responsible for “ensuring that each capital defendant in the jurisdiction receives high quality legal representation.” This independent agency “and not the judiciary or elected officials should select lawyers for specific cases.” These mandates reflect two realities that have become overwhelmingly clear: (1) judges—whether initially elected, subject to retention elections, or appointed—are subject to political pressures in connection with capital punishment cases; and (2) lawyers whom judges have appointed in capital punishment cases have frequently been of far lower quality than could have been selected.

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