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FACULTY (subject to change)
Christopher Adams - Charleston, SC
Since opening his private practice in 2007, Chris concentrates on defending clients accused of white collar crimes, street crimes, sex offenses and capital murder in the South and around the country. In 2009, his defense team won the pretrial dismissal of all charges in a federal death penalty case in Puerto Rico after proving his client innocent. Chris grew up in Carrollton, Georgia, and graduated from West Georgia College in 1988. He earned his law degree from Georgetown University in 1992. Chris spent the next eight years as a public defender in Charleston, South Carolina, successfully defending clients against a wide array of criminal charges, from driving offenses to capital murder. In 2000, Chris joined the Southern Center for Human Rights, a nationally acclaimed non-profit law office in Atlanta that defends people facing the death penalty throughout the Deep South. Working with committed and talented defense teams, Chris won a series of impressive results in very difficult cases -- an acquittal for death row inmate Gary Drinkard, a DNA exoneration for Douglas Echols, an acquittal for Albert Joe Ryans, and a lesser conviction and life sentence for death row inmate Levi Pace. Hoping to spread the culture of excellence of the Southern Center for Human Rights to an important new public defense office, Chris accepted the appointment as the founding director of the Georgia Capital Defender, the state agency charged with defending indigent men and women facing the death penalty at trial and on appeal. During his tenure (2004-2007), the office accomplished amazing results for its clients, resolving 40 cases without a single client being sentenced to death, including a unanimous life verdict in a double murder case that Chris tried in Brunswick, Georgia. However, the State of Georgia responded by cutting funding so low that it undermined the clients’ constitutional right to effective representation. After being prohibited by the State of Georgia from litigating the issue in court, Chris resigned over the principle of effective representation for all defendants facing the death penalty, which was covered in the New York Times. Chris is recognized by his peers for his excellence as a criminal defense lawyer. Chris serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is a sought after speaker on criminal defense advocacy, forensics, and criminal law, having given more than 100 presentations to professional organizations and bar associations in more than thirty states. He is on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College and the two national death penalty defense training colleges, the Santa Clara Death Penalty College and the Clarence Darrow Defense College. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at Emory University, Georgia State University, and the Charleston School of Law, teaching courses and clinics on capital punishment.
Marc Bookman - Philadelphia, PA
Marc Bookman is the Director of the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation, a non-profit project whose mission is training and consulting with capital defense teams in Pennsylvania and Delaware. He was in the Defender Association of Philadelphia’s Homicide Unit from its inception in 1993 to 2010.
Steve Bright - Atlanta, GA
Stephen B. Bright is president and senior counsel of Southern Center for Human Rights and teaches at Yale Law School. He served as director of SCHR from 1982 through 2005, and has been in his present position since the start of 2006. He has taught at Yale since 1993. Subjects of his litigation, teaching and writing include capital punishment, legal representation for poor people accused of crimes, conditions and practices in prisons and jails, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, judicial independence, and sentencing. He has tried cases, including capital cases, before juries and argued cases before state and federal appellate courts. He has twice argued and won cases before the United States Supreme Court, Snyder v. Louisiana, 552 U.S. 472 (2008) (hear oral argument), and Amadeo v. Zant, 486 U.S. 214 (1988) (hear oral argument). Both cases involved racial discrimination in the composition of the juries. He has testified on many occasions before committees of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. He has also taught at a number of other law schools, including Harvard, Georgetown, Emory, Georgia, and Tennessee. An on-line version of his course on capital punishment that is available at Yale, YouTube, and iTunesU. His and SCHR's work has been the subject of a documentary film, Finding for Life in the Death Belt, (EM Productions 2005), and two books, Proximity to Death by William McFeely (Norton 1999) and Finding Life on Death Row by Kayta Lezin (Northeastern University Press 1999). He received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award in 1998, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty in 1991, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s Kutak-Dodds Prize in 1992, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, several honarary degrees and other recognition set out in the curriculum vitae below. The Fulton Daily Law Report, Georgia's legal newspaper, named Bright “Newsmaker (and Agitator) of the Year” in 2003 for his contribution to bringing about creation of a public defender system in Georgia.
Scharlette Holdman - San Francisco, CA
Richard Jaffe - Birmingham, AL
Richard S. Jaffe is the Senior Partner of the Birmingham, Alabama law firm of Jaffe & Drennan, P.C. The firm concentrates in the area of criminal defense and personal injury, with Mr. Jaffe specializing in the areas of white collar criminal defense and criminal litigation in the federal and state courts. He has been certified as a Criminal Trial Specialist by The National Board of Trial Advocates (NBTA) since 1984. He is past president of the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the founder of the Greater Birmingham Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association. Best lawyers of America named Mr. Jaffe “Lawyer of the year” in non-white-collar criminal defense in Birmingham for 2010 and “Lawyer of the year” in white-collar criminal defense for Birmingham for 2013. In 2012 Super Lawyers listed him among the top 50 lawyers in Alabama. Mr. Jaffe is a sought after speaker to organizations and trains lawyers on trial strategies and communication skills throughout the United Sates. He is serving his 3rd term as a Board Director for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). He is the author of “Quest for Justice; Defending the Damned.” Mr. Jaffe has handled over sixty capital cases, including 5 federal death penalty cases. Only one of his clients has ever received the death penalty and only a small number are serving life sentences. His acquittal rate is among the highest in the country. He is the only attorney in the nation who has successfully defended three death row inmates at new trials after they had previously been sentenced to death. He and his firm have participated in numerous other acquittals of individuals facing serious punishment, both at trial and on appeal. In addition, Mr. Jaffe has successfully represented many individuals and corporations facing significant sentences for violations of Federal Criminal Offenses. Mr. Jaffe began his career as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama, then served as a Deputy District Attorney, before entering the private practice of law in 1978. Mr. Jaffe has been board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Criminal Trial Specialist since January 31, 1984. (Copyright 2006 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.). He is currently listed in both Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Jaffe has served on the board of directors for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for over 6 years. He is licensed to practice law in New York, Georgia, D.C. and Alabama. He is a sought after speaker at litigation conferences throughout the United States. In 1994, the Alabama Bar Association awarded him the prestigious Clarence Darrow Award for the contributions he has made in defending indigent people charged with criminal offenses. The Roderick Beddow Award, the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer Association's most prestigious award for service in the criminal defense field, was presented to Mr. Jaffe in the summer of 2002. It is awarded "in recognition of a lifetime achievement in the practice of criminal law." Mr. Jaffe served as president of the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer's Association, and is a founder and past-president of the Greater Birmingham Criminal Defense Lawyer's Association. He taught "Evidence" at the minority Miles Law School in Birmingham, Alabama for eight years. Mr. Jaffe has published many articles and papers in connection with the training of attorneys. His February 2001 article in the Champion magazine was repeatedly cited in the Cornell Law Journal in a definitive study on jury selection in capital cases. It has been reprinted by several organizations that train trial lawyers. Mr. Jaffe is frequently called upon to comment on death penalty issues and other areas of criminal law by television, radio and print media. He has been the subject of numerous stories reporting his successes in the death penalty area. One recent television story led with the byline, "Birmingham's Matlock.
Richard Jasper - New York, NY
Richard Jasper graduated from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut and New York Law School where he was a member of the law school’s National Moot Team. Since 2008, he has been on the faculty of the branch Bryan R. Shechmeister Death Penalty College at Santa Clara School of Law. He is a practicing criminal defense lawyer in the New York City metropolitan area. He served as a clerk to Chief Judge Constance Baker Motley, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Jasper has represented over thirty-five federal death eligible clients. He has represented defendants in post 911 terrorist cases, racketeering, narcotics and money laundering cases. He is currently co-counsel in United States v. Ahmed Abu Khattalah (Benghazi attack on U.S. Mission.) He has tried United States v. Ronell Wilson, United States v. Vincent Basciano and United States v. Mallay to a verdict. He represented Dandeny Munoz- Mosquera in United States v. Pablo Escobar, et al.
Samantha Kennedy - New Orleans, LA|
Samantha Kennedy is an attorney and mitigation specialist based in New Orleans. She has her J.D. from Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law and her in B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology with a concentration in African and African American Studies from Carleton College.
Denise 'Denny' LeBoeuf - New Orleans, LA
Denny LeBoeuf is the director of the ACLU's John Adams Project, assisting in the defense of the capitally charged Guantánamo detainees. Previously, she served as the director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, which works toward the end of the death penalty by supporting repeal and reform with public education, advocacy and targeted litigation. She has been a capital defender for over 20 years, representing persons facing death at trial and in post-conviction in state and federal courts, and she teaches and consults with capital defense teams nationally. LeBoeuf holds a J.D. from Tulane University and a B.A. from Hunter College.
Susan Marcus - New York, NY
Susan Marcus is a criminal defense attorney in private practice in New York. She focuses primarily on capital cases pending trial, in state and federal court, throughout the country. She has won successful life verdicts in complex capital cases. She has been invited faculty to train other lawyers in defending capital cases for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Federal Defender, the Georgia Capital Defender, the Arizona Capital Representation Project, the California Association of Criminal Justice, and the Los Angeles Public Defender Office. From 2001 through 2004, she was a public defender with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS). Before becoming a lawyer, Susan was a mitigation investigator on behalf of men and women facing the death penalty.
Mark Olive - Tallahassee, FL
Mark E. Olive’s national practice of law focuses on death penalty defense litigation, educating lawyers, judges, and law students about capital punishment and habeas corpus practice, and consulting with and helping capital defense teams provide quality representation for the neediest of clients. Some of Mark’s cases include: Hall v. Florida, __ U.S. ___ (2014), where the United States Supreme Court found that Florida’s “bright line” rule on IQ scores violated Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002)(also one of Mark’s cases), where the United States Supreme Court found the execution of persons with intellectual disabilities violated the Eighth Amendment; Fleming v. Zant, 386 S.E.2d 339 (Ga. 1989), where the Georgia Supreme Court found the execution of persons with intellectual disabilities violated the Geogia Constitution, pre-Atkins; Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993), a Texas case where a majority of the Supreme Court agreed the execution of an innocent person would violate the Eighth Amendment; Williams v. Dixon, 961 F.2d 448 (4th Cir 1992), where the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held North Carolina’s capital jury instruction violated the Eighth Amendment; and Maas v. Olive, 992 So.3d 196 (Fla. 2008), and Olive v. Maas, 811 So.2d 644 (Fla 2002), where the Florida Supreme Court invalidated fee caps in capital cases. Mark was the Director of the first Capital Resource Center in the country, opened in Tallahassee, Florida in 1985, which provided assistance to pro bono attorneys (and provided direct representation) in capital cases. He was later the Director of both the Georgia and Virginia Resource Centers. He regularly teaches a Death Penalty and the Supreme Court seminar at the University of North Carolina College of Law in Chapel Hill. Mark was awarded the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Life in the Balance Achievement Award in 2003.
Danalynn Recer - Houston, TX
Danalynn Recer began fighting the death penalty in Texas two decades ago, working initially as an investigator and later as an attorney with the Texas Resource Center. In 1995, she moved to New Orleans to work with Clive Stafford Smith at the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center, nationally known for its aggressive and creative capital trial representation. While there, she participated in a dozen capital trials, secured life pleas for another 8 clients, and directed the Jefferson Parish Project, a consulting team that worked with the highest volume indigent defenders in Louisiana to reduce the number of death sentences there. In 2002, when Calvin Burdine was returned to Harris County (Houston, Texas) for retrial, Danalynn stepped in on a pro bono basis and founded the Gulf Region Advocacy, or “GRACE” in the process. Today, GRACE provides direct representation, consulting services and mitigation services to indigent capital defendants, as well as training and education to capital defenders around the country. Over the past twenty years, Danalynn has participated in the defense of over one hundred capital clients in all stages of litigation in state and federal courts in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, Tennessee, North Dakota, Florida, Kansas, California and Nevada. She holds a B.A., M.A. and J.D. from the University of Texas.
Russell Stetler - Oakland, CA
Russell Stetler has served as the National Mitigation Coordinator for the federal death penalty projects since 2005. He has investigated all aspects of capital cases, both trial and post-conviction, since 1980. He served as chief investigator at the California Appellate Project from 1990 to 1995, focusing on federal habeas corpus cases. From 1995 to 2005, he was the director of investigation and mitigation at the New York Capital Defender Office. His publications on capital cases include articles on mitigation evidence, mental health issues, and prevailing norms in capital defense. He is a coauthor of chapters on psychiatric issues in death penalty cases in two books on forensic mental health, as well as A Practitioner’s Guide to Representing Capital Clients with Mental Disorders and Impairments. For more than two and a half decades, he has lectured extensively on capital defense issues at various national training conferences and for the capital defense bar of most of the death-penalty jurisdictions around the country. He has also served as an expert witness on the development and presentation of mitigation evidence in both state and federal court.
David Wymore - Boulder, CO
David Wymore maintains a solo practice in Boulder, Colorado. He graduated from the Ohio State University and the University of Colorado School of Law. He became a Colorado Deputy Public Defender in 1976 and the Colorado Chief Trial Deputy from 1982 to 2004 when he retired. David also teaches trial tactics and death litigation, and is primarily recognized for his creation of the Colorado Method of Capitol Voir Dire. He is presently involved with the on-going Capital Voir Dire project of NACDL and the Southern Center for Human Rights. Mr. Wymore was featured in the May 1997 publication of The American Lawyer under the caption “Too Effective for his working in keeping Colorado’s death row empty.” A feature-length documentary entitled, “The Life Penalty” about David and the Colorado Method of Jury Selection is presently being shown in the U.S. and abroad. Various awards he has earned include, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar 1997 Jonathon Olom Award; University of Colorado, School of Law 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award; Colorado Criminal Defense Bar 2008 The Gideon Award; Boulder County Bar Association 2008 Ron Porter Award of Merit; and the ACLU Foundation of Colorado 2008 Edward Sherman Award.