A competent defense lawyer is a crucial component of our legal system. Outlier death penalty counties are rife with poorly performing lawyers who rarely give the jury a reason to save the defendant’s life. Nearly one in four death row inmates has been represented at trial, or on appeal, by court-appointed attorneys who have been disciplined for professional misconduct at some point in their careers.
Caddo Parish, LA
Daryl Gold represented 1 in 5 people sent to death row in the entire state between 2005 and 2014. He has had his law license suspended three times.
Duval County, FL
Refik Eler has been a defense lawyer on at least eight cases that resulted in a death sentence since 2008, more than any other lawyer in Florida.
In 2015, a Florida court overturned a conviction and death sentence after finding that Eler failed to conduct a basic factual investigation of the circumstances of the crime, failed to secure the testimony of alibi witnesses, and also failed to investigate evidence of his client’s organic brain damage and intellectual disability.
Courts have found that Eler provided ineffective assistance of counsel in three different capital cases.
Maricopa County, AZ
“He looks like a killer, not a retard”
Defense lawyer Nathaniel Carr, has been admonished by the court for violating the rules of criminal procedure and his “willful misconduct.” Carr failed to introduce evidence of his client’s intellectual disability at trial.