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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.
Dana Cook - Philadelphia, PA
Dana Cook is the Deputy Director for the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation (ACCR), a death penalty resource center that provides trial level consultation and training in capital cases in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Prior to that, she worked at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, both as a social worker and a mitigation specialist. She began in the Juvenile Special Defense Unit representing Direct File Juveniles. After working in this unit for two years, she worked in the Homicide/Special Defense Unit as a mitigation specialist. There she represented capital and non-capital clients charged with homicide. Over the past several years, Dana has become a trainer and presenter at death penalty conferences. She has presented on various topics including client relationships/team building; storytelling/presenting mitigation; age as a mitigator and poverty as a mitigator. Prior to working at the Defender, she was an investigator in the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Defender Office in Philadelphia. She began her career as an investigator at the Post-Conviction Defender Office in Nashville, TN. She received her B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration in 1996 from Middle Tennessee State University and her Masters of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003.
Henderson Hill - Charlotte, NC
Henderson Hill is executive director of the 8th AMENDMENT PROJECT. Previously Henderson served as executive director of the Federal Defenders of Western North Carolina. He spent 15 years as a partner with Ferguson, Stein, Chambers, Gresham & Sumter, P.A. in Charlotte, NC. where his practice included criminal defense, medical negligence, civil rights, death penalty defense, and general civil trials. Henderson received his B.A. degree from Lehman College at the City University of New York and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. He is admitted to the bar in North Carolina and the District of Columbia. In 2007 Henderson was elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Henderson began practice in 1981 with the Public Defender Service, in Washington D.C.; he held the positions of special litigation counsel, deputy chief of the appellate division and training director before relocating to North Carolina. In 1991 he became the director of the North Carolina Death Penalty Resource Center, in Raleigh. In 1995 he founded and served as director of the non-profit organization, the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, Durham, North Carolina. Hill received the Paul Green Award from the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union for his work to abolish the death penalty. In 1999, Mr. Hill was a founding member of the Charlotte Coalition for Moratorium Now, a grass- roots organization that led the successful drive for a resolution supporting a Moratorium on executions by the Charlotte City Council and an active member of the statewide effort to enact a Moratorium in North Carolina.
Susan Marcus - New York, NY
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.
Russell Stetler - Oakland, CA
Jeffrey Thoma - Fairfield, CA
Jeffrey E. Thoma is a criminal defense attorney at both the trial and appellate levels, and is a Visiting Professor of Evidence at the University of Hawaii School of Law. He has appeared before the United States, California, and Nevada Supreme Courts; and has specialized in capital litigation for almost thirty-five years, and DNA cases for over twenty-five plus years, and has served for about ten years as a member of the planning committee member and faculty of the Capital Case Defense Seminar in Monterey, CA. He served as a commissioner under Attorney General Janet Reno on the United States Department of Justice’s Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence from 1996-2001, and has lectured and been published on this subject and others nationwide. He presently serves on the Board of Directors, and Chair of the Annual Forensics Program of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and has co-chaired NACDL’s Annual Meeting CLE the past three years. He is also currently President of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), and had been Seminars Chair for CACJ the prior ten years. He is also a faculty member at the Boulder, CO Capital Voir Dire program, for the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) and at the Hawaii State Public Defender Annual Conference. He was formerly the Chief Public Defender for Solano County (CA) from 2004-2010, the Chief Public Defender for Mendocino County (CA) from 1997-2004, and also formerly worked as a Deputy Public Defender for San Diego (CA), Orange (CA), and Clark (NV) counties, and as a Deputy District Attorney in Humboldt County(CA).
Dr. Dale Watson - Oakland, CA
Dale G. Watson, Ph.D. is a clinical and forensic neuropsychologist. He is currently in private practice in the Bay Area of California and a consultant to Neurobehavioral Cognitive Services (NCS) – a transitional living and brain-injury recovery program in Dixon, California. He has extensive experience in the evaluation of traumatic brain injuries and intellectual disabilities. He is also an adjunct Faculty member at the Wright Institute, an American Psychological Association accredited graduate psychology program, where he teaches cognitive and psychological assessment. Additionally, he is a frequent consultant to attorneys regarding the interface between neurocognitive dysfunction and criminal law, particularly in capital murder cases. He has made numerous national presentations on neuropsychology and the evaluation of intellectual disabilities in capital litigation. He has testified in Superior and Federal District Courts. He has served as both a testifying and non-testifying expert.
David Wymore - Boulder, CO