Death Penalty

The Southern Center for Human Rights represents individuals on death row at trial, on appeal, and in the post-conviction review process. In doing so, we all too often discover that a person who had been sentenced to death has a history of extraordinarily serious abuse or neglect which was never presented to the judge or jury. Some of our clients on death row were never competent to stand trial, and were prosecuted and convicted without consideration of their mental disabilities. In investigating an individual client’s case, we often unveil evidence that prosecutors abused their power, or that trial attorneys were unable to provide a meaningful defense. Litigation by SCHR on behalf of our clients includes claims of ineffectiveness assistance of counselfailure to present mitigation evidence, and competency.

SCHR is also vigilant in defending against politicians' attempts to increase the use of the death penalty even as public skepticism grows about its use. We are fighting, for example, repeated attempts by Georgia legislators to allow a death sentence be imposed in instances where the jury does not reach consensus on such a sentence. SCHR also provides training and acts as a resource to lawyers and law firms with death row clients, and has served as a training ground for death penalty attorneys nationwide.

To view a summary of US Supreme Court Death Penalty cases since 1970, click here.