When considering the contributions of capital defense lawyers like Terry Lenamon to the fight against the death penalty in this country, most people think of their advocacy in a particular case, particularly the more publicized trials.

However, it is the strategies and skills of death penalty defense lawyers that are being recognized as a more systemic contribution to the declining use of capital punishment in this country.

The following efforts by death penalty defense lawyers are discussed as factors in the reduction of capital sentences imposed in the past decade:

  1. dedicating time and energy into the investigation and presentation of mitigating circumstances for the accused, including family history of childhood deprivation and abuse; mental health patterns over the life of the defendant; and other mitigating factors against a capital sentence;
  2. working with prosecutors with zealous plea bargaining strategies to avoid death; and
  3. focus upon jury selection in capital cases.

From the ABA Publication:

“Mitigating is not offering an excuse or justification for the crime, but instead placing the crime in the context of a whole life. This book offer specific steps and strategies that lawyers and others can use in the course of their work.”

For more on how mitigation is vital in a death penalty defense, see: