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Death Penalty

The death penalty is a direct descendant of lynching and other forms of racial violence and oppression in the American South. Race, socioeconomic status, the county in which the alleged offense was committed, and the quality of the attorneys ultimately play the most decisive roles in who receives a death sentence in America. The evidence is clear that the death penalty does not make us safer.

SCHR has been a leading force in litigating capital cases in the Deep South, securing numerous victories on behalf of our clients facing the death penalty. We have argued and won five death penalty cases at the United States Supreme Court, four of which challenged profound race discrimination in capital trials. SCHR won a decision from the Georgia Supreme Court outlawing the use of the electric chair and deeming it “cruel and unusual punishment.” We continue to lead litigation and advocacy efforts in the Deep South to prevent new death sentences and executions and to abolish the death penalty.

In every case, we work to ensure that each of our clients gets the individualized and dedicated attention they so richly deserve, particularly given the gravity of their circumstances. By doing so, we continue to uplift their humanity throughout the process.

Our Clients

SCHR provides direct representation to people facing the death penalty in Georgia and Alabama.

People who receive a death sentence are almost always portrayed in the media – and in the public imagination – as monsters. What SCHR has found over the many decades that we have been doing this work is that people who receive death sentences are often poor, intellectually limited or mentally ill, traumatized, and abused. The death penalty is levied not against the “worst of the worst”, but against our country’s most marginalized and vulnerable community members. SCHR seeks to demonstrate the humanity in all our clients.