Our mission at the Death Penalty Representation Project is to ensure that all persons facing a possible death sentence have the assistance of competent, effective lawyers at every stage of the proceedings against them. The American Bar Association believes that good lawyers are essential to justice, especially in death penalty cases. Over the years, our volunteers have contributed their skills, time, and substantial resources to work with us toward solutions.
The Project was created twenty-three years ago to address an emerging crisis of counsel. Since that time, we have engaged more than one thousand volunteer lawyers to donate in excess of one million hours of pro bono time to assist the men and women on our nation’s Death Rows. Today, we receive requests for help from nearly every death penalty jurisdiction in the country. With your help and support, we will continue to make a difference in the lives of indigent capital defendants and Death Row prisoners in the following ways:
· By recruiting, training, and supporting volunteer lawyers for the hundreds of Death Row prisoners across the United States who are without counsel;
· By working with defenders, prosecutors, judges, and legislators to facilitate improvements to the counsel systems that fail so many poor people;
· By aggressively pursuing reform with systemic litigation when other reform efforts do not succeed;
· By promulgating guidelines for the defense of death penalty cases that are now widely acknowledged by courts and defenders as the national standard of practice;
· By collecting and providing resources to capital defenders and volunteer counsel; and
· By educating the public, bar, and judiciary about the problems with the death penalty and the urgent need for meaningful reform.