NEW RESOURCES: ACLU Report Finds Severe Deficiencies in Capital Representation and Appeals

According to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) entitled, “Slamming the Courthouse Doors: Denial of Access to Justice and Remedy in America,” many states severely restrict access to justice for capital defendants and limit the availability of remedies to correct errors. The problem of inadequate counsel continues to pervade death penalty systems across the country: “Few states provide adequate funds to compensate lawyers for their work or to investigate cases properly. In addition to inadequate funding, the majority of death-penalty states lack adequate competency standards. Many states require only minimal training and experience for attorneys handling death penalty cases, and in some cases capital defense attorneys fail to meet the minimum guidelines for capital defense set by the American Bar Association (ABA),” according to the ACLU. The report also states that the absence of a right to counsel in post-conviction appeals leaves capital defendants with few options to address serious errors during their trial. Read full report here.

(ACLU, “Slamming the Courthouse Doors: Denial of Access to Justice and Remedy in America,” December 2010). See Representation. Find more Studies on the death penalty.