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Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel
Far too often, what distinguishes those who are sent to death row from those who are not is not the gravity of their crime, but rather the quality of their attorneys. SCHR's clients typically become our clients after they have been sentenced to death. In the course of representing these individuals, we often discover that our client had been poorly represented at trial.
The low quality of representation may have been caused by any number of reasons: inexperience, inattention, or a lack of resources. Whatever the reason, however, poor representation results in juries not hearing critical evidence or other failures that then result in a death sentence where a more vigorous defense would have reslted in a different outcome. SCHR seeks to remedy injustice for these individual clients on a case by base basis.
At the same time, SCHR understands that ineffective assistance of counsel is also a systemic problem caused by lack of adequate funding and quality training. So long as we continue to have a system of justice that permits a death sentence, the quality of representation in capital cases must improve.