CDPL attorneys have taken on a clear case of racial discrimination during the death penalty trial of our client Russell Tucker. The evidence shows that the prosecutor in Tucker’s case used a “cheat sheet” to get around a law that prohibits prosecutors from striking jurors based on race. Recently, this in depth article was published about the case.
Also this month, former CDPL board member James Coleman, published a new article showing that N.C. appellate courts have been uniquely remiss in failing to protect the rights of people of color to serve on juries and thereby participate in our democracy. This article arose from the work of CDPL staff.
If you need a quick explanation of the problem of race discrimination in capital jury selection, watch CDPL’s 3-minute video:
CDPL’s Executive Director Gretchen M. Engel was interviewed recently by the radio program A Better World, which gives an in-depth look into people and organizations “working to create a world that works for everyone.” In this wide-ranging interview, you can learn about CDPL’s work to advance the cases of death-sentenced men and women and end the death penalty.
CDPL attorneys Elizabeth Hambourger and Vernetta Alston were part of the team that won a life sentence for Nathan Holden in Wake County on March 3. The jury rejected both the state’s claim that the murder was premeditated and that the death penalty was warranted. It was the eighth capital trial in a row in which a Wake County jury chose life without parole over a death sentence. Here you can watch Elizabeth Hambourger give her moving closing argument, in which she asked the jury to save her client’s life.
Clients with intellectual disabilities are some of the most vulnerable people we represent. On April 13 in Raleigh, CDPL will host a one-day continuing legal education seminar on representing clients with intellectual disabilities in capital cases — and saving their lives. For attorneys and mitigation investigators appointed to represent indigent capital defendants. Enrollment is limited and preference is given to first-time attendees. Cancellations after April 6 are non-refundable.
Learn more about intellectual disabilities and the death penalty in North Carolina at NCDeathPenalty.org.
The Center for Death Penalty Litigation Presents
WORKING WITH OUR MOST VULNERABLE CLIENTS AND SAVING THEIR LIVES:
THE DEFENSE OF CLIENTS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES IN CAPITAL CASES
North Carolina Advocates for Justice Headquarters, 1312 Annapolis Drive, Raleigh
April 13, 2017
8:45 Registration (coffee provided)
9:15 Overview of Intellectual Disabilities Law — Gretchen M. Engel
From Atkins v. Virginia to Hall v. Florida and Brumfield v. Louisiana, as well as N.C. Gen. Stat. §15A-2005 and its 2015 revisions.
10:00 Identifying Persons with Intellectual Disabilities — J. Gregory Olley, Ph.D.
Explanation of the diagnostic criteria for intellectual disability and a discussion of common pitfalls that cause defense teams to fail to recognize their clients’ deficits.
11:15 Ethical Challenges of Representing Intellectually Disabled Clients — Hon. Mary Ann Tally & J. Gregory Olley, Ph.D.
How to ensure that your intellectually disabled client makes knowing and intelligent decisions about plea bargains and at trial.
12:30 Lunch (on your own)
1:45 Investigating Adaptive Functioning — Odalys Rojas
Document collection and witness interviews needed to identify and prove deficits in adaptive functioning.
2:45 Presenting a Compelling Case of Intellectual Disability — Joseph E. Zeszotarski
How to persuade the prosecutor, judge, or jury of your client’s intellectual disability.
Total CLE hours: 4.75, including 1.25 hours of ethics
Register here. With questions, contact Barrie Wallace: firstname.lastname@example.org.