2005 Archive

Death Penalty Clinic Helps Inmate Win New Trial

Boalt Hall's Death Penalty Clinic played a leading role in Monday's Supreme Court decision that could have a sweeping impact on how juries are chosen nationwide. In a case in which the clinic served as counsel for a group of high-profile amici curiae, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 6-3 ruling that Thomas Miller-El, an African-American defendant, was denied a fair trial when Dallas County, Texas, prosecutors systematically dismissed African-Americans as prospective jurors for the case.

Boalt Hall, in conjunction with the Washington D.C. law firm Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, represented a group of former federal appellate court judges, a former deputy U.S. attorney general, a former FBI director, former state attorneys general, former assistant U.S. attorneys, and the former district attorney of Boston, all of whom backed the effort to win a new trial for Miller-El. Clinic faculty and students joined with the Sidley firm to write four amicus briefs supporting Miller-El's appeal of his conviction for a 1985 murder.