Casework

 

The Amicus casework programme provides remote support for capital defenders in the US.  Most of our current teams come from law firms or barristers’ chambers in the UK.  Working with legal professionals enables us to guarantee the confidentiality of our case materials as well as maintain the highest standards of quality and consistency.  Our own project management systems ensure that information is shared effectively, the work is well organised and all deadlines are met.  We are able to keep our US partners appraised of progress throughout the project.  We also keep our UK volunteers up-to-date with the outcome of their efforts and the ultimate results of the case.

During 2011 we had approximately 200 volunteers working on eight individual cases.  To date, we have had positive results in four and the rest remain ongoing.  Read about the case details in our Success Stories.

It can take up to five years to prepare a capital case for trial and working through the appeals process can take many more years or even decades.  Capital defenders in the US are generally over-worked, under-funded and under-resourced.  The support our caseworkers provide makes a huge difference and allows the US lawyers to prepare each case more effectively and thoroughly than would otherwise be possible.
 

“I just wanted to say thank you for all of your hard work on the case.  We could not have done it without you guys.”

Lawyer, Texas Defender Service

 

“It is just amazing that so many people who have never even met me want to spend their time helping me.  It really humbles me and I want to tell them 'Thank You'."

Florida Inmate


Most of our casework focuses on individual cases.  The work our volunteers do includes summarising and analysing crime reports, statements, transcripts of previous trials/hearings, prison records, school/employment records, medical records, or any other documents which might be useful in mitigation.  Amicus caseworkers have also been involved in researching points of law, creating case timelines, drafting or reviewing motions and helping develop lines of argument.

Some of our volunteers are criminal specialists or are US qualified.  However, many are civil/commercial lawyers with no criminal or US experience.  When we allocate work we take into account the capacity of the team, in terms of legal expertise, number of volunteers and existing workload.  We design bespoke training sessions for our teams, which provide background information on the individual case they are working on, as well as guidance on the specific tasks they have been asked to do.  Our training sessions also cover basic information about the death penalty and key aspects of the US capital justice system.  Our structure also creates discreet relationships meaning that responsibility for casework products rests with Amicus rather than with the individuals, firms or chambers.

 

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