A death penalty trial contains two phase: the penalty phase, where the jury is asked to determine guilt or innocence, and then a separate sentencing phase should the jury return with a guilty verdict. During the penalty phase, attorneys for the person facing a death penalty are permitted to present mitigating evidence as to why his or her client should not be sentenced to death. In many cases, because of a lack of resources or expertise, attorneys do not present critical mitigation evidence that would have convinced the judge or jury to impose a life sentence rather than a sentence of death.
An investigation of a capital defendant's life almost always reveals a history of trauma, deprivation, abuse, and/or mental disability. SCHR attorneys and investigators bring these realities to life. Presenting to courts in post-conviction hearings what should have been presented to juries during the original trial, SCHR seeks to demonstrate the humanity in all our clients.