Report: Lawyer shortage slows capital appeals

A report says California is having a tough time recruiting lawyers for post-conviction challenges, leading to long delays for those on death row who are waiting for an attorney.

The Los Angeles Times reports Saturday that nearly half of those condemned in California are waiting for counsel.

In one case, a man sentenced to death 13 years ago for a 1996 murder in Orange County still has no attorney to appeal his conviction.

Defense lawyers say the scarcity is due to inadequate state funding, the emotional turmoil of taking on a case in which the client could die and the likelihood of the state Supreme Court upholding a capital conviction.

California has more than 700 inmates on death row. The average wait for an attorney is about 10 years.




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