WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Supreme Court on Monday ruled 5-4 against Texas death row inmate Erick Davila who argued that his lawyers did not adequately challenge a faulty jury instruction both at his trial and on appeal. Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued the following statement:
“We are disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling today. The right to effective assistance of counsel matters on direct appeal as much as it does at the initial trial phase—and is critically important to addressing errors and racial bias that sometimes infect capital proceedings. A 2014 Department of Justice study of death penalty cases found that the conviction or sentence of a defendant was overturned at some stage of review in approximately 31.5 percent of cases between 1973 and 2013. The right to effective counsel at every stage is critical to ensure fair and just outcomes, and to ensure public confidence in our criminal justice system. The right to effective assistance of counsel is especially important for African-American, Latino and other minority defendants who are more likely to experience racial bias at every stage of the criminal justice process.”
About The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The Lawyers’ Committee celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 as it continued its quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment, voting, education and environmental justice.
For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law