The most common justification I hear for the death penalty is that it deters crime. When I consider the hundreds of death penalty cases with which I am familiar, and the dozen or so which I have worked on personally, I am always puzzled by this position. I ask myself, “Have the people that advocate... Read More
This month the Supreme Court heard arguments with respect to execution by lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Lethal injection has become the standard method of execution in the United States, Nevada being the only exception by relying on the electric chair.
An Attorney’s Journey to Get a Client Free from Death It has been almost six years since a colleague in San Antonio called me to ask if I would handle a death penalty matter. The client, Steve Rodriguez, had killed a woman (Agnes Herden) in the course of a burglary in 1990. He pleaded... Read More
On December 10th the Supreme Court decided two companion cases that essentially hold that the Federal Sentencing guidelines really are just guidelines. In other words the sentencing court, after giving them consideration, is free to disregard them and impose the sentence the court thinks is appropriate in a given case.
Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments concerning the rights of detainees in Guantanmo Bay Detention Camp to challenge their continued detention by means of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. To put this issue in perspective consider the following plausible hypothetical.
In almost every criminal case a defendant will be offered a “plea bargain” and, indeed, most criminal cases ultimately do not go to trial. Whether to accept a plea bargain offer depends upon a variety of factors and is almost always dependent upon the facts of the individual case. Nevertheless, generally the two most important... Read More
After deliberating for over two weeks, perhaps the most lengthy deliberation in Texas history, the jury finally returned a verdict (sort of) in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Before explaining the wacky verdict, let me first give an overview of what was at issue in the trial.