Press Release August 21, 2020

Amicus Brief Challenges Restrictions on Federal Habeas Review of Convictions and Sentences of Arizona Death Row Prisoners

A Goodwin Pro Bono team filed an amicus brief on behalf of a nationwide group of law professors who are experts in criminal procedure and post-conviction practice in connection with Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona, et al. v. Barr. In this D.C. Circuit case, the petitioners are challenging the U.S. Attorney General’s approval of the State of Arizona’s request to impose special restrictions on the federal habeas review of the convictions and sentences of Arizona death row prisoners. The law professors’ brief details the legislative history of the federal law that permits a state to opt-in to such restrictions, in support of an argument that Arizona’s procedures for appointing capital post-conviction counsel to indigent death-sentenced defendants do not meet the law’s requirements.

Goodwin represented the law professors via the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project, the association’s expert on issues related to the defense effort in death penalty cases. Since 1986, its singular focus has been to improve the quality and availability of legal representation for persons facing  possible death sentences.

The Goodwin team was led by Government Investigations + Enforcement and White Collar Defense partner James Gatta and included associates Cindy ChangAndrew KimBarzin PakandamAyn Su Woodward, and Gina Faldetta.

For more details, read the brief.