FACDL Death Penalty Seminar, Day 1:

This weekend, I am attending the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s 15th Annual Death Penalty Seminar. This is an annual event that I have often attended since its inception. It is an opportunity for death penalty lawyers to share tactics, techniques, and review the latest developments in the law.

Steve Potolsky, a renowned criminal defense lawyer who was on the team in the first Federal death penalty case tried in Florida, started the seminar with a discussion of national attitudes toward the death penalty Steve asserted that we are entering a period of national reconsideration for the death penalty and cited several reasons for the decline in death sentences nationally. Among these are increased publilcity surrounding exoneration by DNA evidence and the fact that many states have done away with the possibility of parole or early release in such cases. He noted that New Hampshire repealed the death penalty.

Another illustrious speaker yesterday was Gene Zenobi, with whom I have tried three death penalty cases. In addition to criminal defense practice, Gene has been an adjunct professor and is in the process of writing a manual on jury selection. In the seminar, he demonstrated voire dire techniques using the first two rows of the seminar lawyers – an effective and engaging session.

There were other great sessions on Creative Mitigation and Updates on Supreme Court jurisprudence – more updates to follow tomorrow.

– Terry