Twenty clients of Texas defense attorney Jerry Guerinot have been sentenced to death–a number higher than the death row populations of 18 death penalty states around the country. Guerinot also represented Linda Carty, a British national who was facing the death penalty for arranging a murder. She asserts she was wrongly convicted and poorly represented by Guerinot. He failed to visit her for three months after being appointed her counsel, did not call key witnesses who would have testified on her behalf, and neglected to contact the British Consulate for legal assistance. Regarding trial preparation, Carty stated, “I met this guy for less than 15 minutes. Once.” David Dow, litigation director of the Texas Defender Service, which represents some of Guerinot’s former clients who are now on death row, said the large number of death sentences reflect a failure to conduct simple investigations. “He doesn’t even pick the low-hanging fruit which is hitting him in the head as he’s walking under the tree.” Steve Humphries, a filmmaker investigating Carty’s case, said in a brief urging the Supreme Court to hear Carty’s case, “It is no exaggeration to suggest that Mr. Guerinot has perhaps the worst record of any capital lawyer in the United States.”

Mr. Guerinot also failed to interview Charlie Mathis, a Drug Enforcement Agency officer for whom Linda Carty had worked as an informant. “Had Linda’s counsel approached me, I would have been willing to testify on Linda’s behalf,” Mathis said in an affidavit. “I would have testified that she is not a violent person, let alone a cold-blooded murderer.”

(A. Liptak, “A Lawyer Known Best for Losing Capital Cases,” New York Times, May 17, 2010). See also Representation and Foreign Nationals.