Justice for prisoners
Challenging and removing the death sentence
Our 25-strong team of lawyers are currently representing seven men under sentence of death in Alabama; in six of these cases, the clients’ juries actually voted against the death sentence, but Alabama law – which we are challenging – allowed the trial judges to overrule the juries and impose a death sentence.
Through years of litigation in previous cases in Illinois and Pennsylvania, our lawyers succeeded in saving three clients who had been sentenced to death.
In 2022, Reed Smith was approached by a group of concerned Republican legislators in Oklahoma and asked to conduct an independent investigation and prepare a report of findings regarding the case of Richard Glossip, an inmate on death row in Oklahoma since 1997. Since releasing the initial 343-page report in June 2022, our team produced a summary of findings and four supplemental reports as part of our independent investigation. All reports are available to the public. Since the issuance of our report, Mr. Glossip’s execution date has been stayed or extended three times. Work on this case continues.
“The work is so important because our investigation revealed serious flaws with the Glossip case and his conviction and death sentence. We determined that no reasonable juror would have convicted him based on the information we uncovered, and we continue to uncover new information as our investigation continues. We are now attempting to help prevent someone from being unjustly executed by the State of Oklahoma. We also are helping to shed light on issues regarding the death penalty system in the State of Oklahoma and the country as a whole, and our report made recommendations based on our findings in the Glossip case.”
David Weiss, Partner, San Francisco
United States – juvenile justice
In Pennsylvania, many teenagers were being sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. In June 2017, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania threw out life-without-parole prison terms for juveniles, allowing hundreds across the state to be re-sentenced.
Our lawyers have fought for and won fair sentences in several of these court proceedings. In one case, our client has already been released from prison due to his demonstrated rehabilitation.
“At last count there were about 500 people who were convicted of crimes committed while they were juveniles and all of those are going through the process of being re-sentenced.”
Dave Fawcett, Partner, Pittsburgh
In Pittsburgh, following a federal lawsuit that we brought against the county and officials at the local jail, our lawyers compelled the jail to cease its prior inhumane practice of placing pregnant inmates into solitary confinement for minor failures to follow rules.