20th September, 2009

Stephen B. Bright Testifies On Need for Competent Counsel In Us House of Representatives

Stephen B. Bright, the Center's President and Senior Counsel, testified regarding the Innocence Protection Act on September 22, 2009 before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives. 

Mr. Bright discussed how the best protection against conviction of the innocent is providing competent legal representation for those accused of crimes.

Mr. Bright also discussed the case of Jamie Weis, a mentally ill man who was denied funding for lawyers to represent him in his capital case for over two years. During this time he made three suicide attempts and repeatedly asked both his lawyers and the prosecutors to be allowed to give up and receive the death penalty. The case is an example of the complete breakdown of Georgia’s indigent defense programs with regard to capital cases. A brief filed in the case discussing these issues is available below.