Inadequate Defense

A review of convictions overturned by DNA testing reveals a trail of sleeping, drunk, incompetent and overburdened defense attorneys, at the trial level and on appeal.

The failure of overworked lawyers to investigate, call witnesses or prepare for trial has led to the conviction of innocent people. When a defense lawyer doesn’t do his or her job, the defendant suffers. Shrinking funding and access to resources for public defenders and court-appointed attorneys is only making the problem worse.

Asleep on the Job

A review of convictions overturned by DNA testing reveals a trail of sleeping, drunk, incompetent and overburdened defense attorneys, at the trial level and on appeal. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Innocent defendants are convicted or plead guilty in this country with less than adequate defense representation. In the some of the worst cases, lawyers have:

  • slept in the courtroom during trial
  • been disbarred shortly after finishing a death penalty case
  • failed to investigate alibis
  • failed to call or consult experts on forensic issues
  • failed to show up for hearings

You can make a positive impact on our legal system, and help prevent wrongful convictions.

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