Capital Post Conviction Project Of Louisiana

From 1988-1999, when it closed from lack of funding, the federally-funded Loyola Death Penalty Resource Center represented death-sentenced inmates after their direct appeals were affirmed. During the period when no organization represented clients in post-conviction proceedings, public defenders were appointed by courts ad hoc and/or the federal and state bench recruited civil law firms to provide their services pro bono. The Louisiana State Bar Association Committee on Post-Conviction Representation successfully recruited many pro bono firms. The Committee worked closely with the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project. State funding finally was made available, and in March 2001, the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana opened its offices.

CPCPL provides high-quality direct representation to death-sentenced Louisiana clients in post-conviction; implements a systematic procedure for appointing counsel when a capital clientĖs conviction and death sentence are affirmed on direct appeal; and assists pro bono civil law firms representing capital post-conviction clients. CPCPL represents clients across Louisiana, in any judicial district in which capital trials have occurred. All capital state post-conviction litigation is funded exclusively through LPDB.

CPCPL staff includes 11 attorneys, 4 mitigation investigators, 5 paralegals, 1 receptionist, 1 office manager and 2 assistants. CPCPL contracts some cases to experienced private capital post-conviction litigators. All CPCPL attorneys have more than full caseloads. CPCPL currently handles 27 clients in direct representation and provides additional resource representation in another 12 cases.

Other than exceedingly rare access to federal habeas, post-conviction representation provides the only opportunity for a judge to review new evidence, including DNA evidence, that may have come to light since the original trial and sentence was imposed. In most cases, the original trial judge handles the post-conviction proceeding. Post-conviction proceedings are the point at which the state generally denies a prisoner the right to a lawyer, but those proceedings are the first point at which a prisoner can prove innocence. Access to post-conviction representation has saved seven innocent men from execution for crimes that they did not commit, and exonerated another 18 from significant sentences.

Contact information:

Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana
Director: Gary Clements
I340 Poydras, Suite 1700
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
(504) 2I2-2110 (office)
(504) 2I2-2I30 (fax)

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