I'll be working on death row cases, which might involve preparing legal arguments to argue against the death penalty, meeting with the defendants in prison and questioning family members and others to help provide mitigation evidence to argue the death penalty should not be given.
The placement is self-funded and the approximate cost is around £4000 (including: flights, accommodation, car and insurance, visa applications and living expenses). I've already undertaken the necessary training with Amicus and am ready to go! I've prepared for years to undertake this placement and I'd be incredibly grateful for any assistance that can be offered!
What are some of the injustices of the death penalty I'm hoping to fight against?:
- Since 1973, more than 150 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence.
- Together, these exonerees spent a total of 1,779 years on death row.
- Poverty and Quality of Legal Representation
- "Death row inmates today face a one-in-three chance of being executed without having the case properly investigated by a competent attorney and without having any claims of innocence or unfairness presented or heard." (Texas Defender Service, 2002)
- Almost all defendants in capital cases cannot afford their own attorneys.
- Appointed attorneys have been known to sleep through parts of the trial, or arrive at the court under the influence of alcohol.
- African-Americans are over-represented on death row. African-Americans make up 43% of the death row population, but only comprise 13% of the general population.
- Over 75% of the murder victims in cases resulting in an execution are white, even though nationally only 50% of murder victims generally are white.
- Mental Illness and Intellectual Disability
- Between 1976 and 2002, 44 people with intellectual disability were executed.
- Execution methods
- Recent incidents of botched and painful executions by lethal injection.
- Drug shortages have led to the re-introduction of alternative execution methods, including the firing squad and the gas chamber.
If you have any questions about the project don't hesitate to ask. A big thank you in advance for any donation you are able to give, or any assistance you are able to offer to my project!