Doctor X wrote:
Of course, "easy" cases are "easy." I am pulling this from my nethers, so perhaps RCC can correct it, but I imagine the "clear" ones do not exactly cost as much with appeals--not as much to research/argue.
I actually do post conviction work, and only post conviction work. It is worse than it sounds, I'm in the office that gets the cases that other lawyers refuse to handle, because they are so nasty, hopeless, or maybe the guy is just a major asshole... My office is some kind of 6th amendment safety net. We don't have the DP, but the only difference between DP work and the LWOP cases I do besides the psychological mind-fuck of literally having a life in your hands and having to watch the client die if you lose is the fact that the DP appeals have to be heard by the courts, and that the DP has special sentencing rules that can present many issues for appeal.
The clear and notorious cases cost as much if not more in general. The cost depends on the lawyer and how much the guy wants to fight. On appeal, guilt or innocence is technically irrelevant and really cannot be revisited without newly discovered evidence. The Jury decision is held almost sacred, and maybe it should be. The whole post-conviction struggle centers around whether the trial was fair. The bigger the case the riper for weird bias issues. It goes to the mat unless the guy gives it up a la Gary Gilmore...
Even more important is the lawyer..
Ever see "True Believer?" "The guiltier he is, the more he needs us."
(I just stumbled upon a good law review article that uses "True Believer as an analysis of the ethical duties of a defense counsel. Some of the arguments sounded familiar, and lo and behold it was written by my Legal Ethics professor... http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/lpop/etex ... nger22.htm
One lawyer in my office makes Eddie Dodd (The actual "True Believer" from the film) look like John Ashcroft. I'm not that far behind him though. The difference is that I think I have an ethical duty to be extremely zealous and try to maintain some doctor-like emotional detachment, and he really is emotional invested in the whole deal. I can only imagine how far he would go if it were a death penalty case. He's one of those dudes (my office is full of 'em) that thinks the death penalty can never, ever be justified. I went Godwin on him and he even passed that test, no DP for Hitler...
So when you get a highly skilled and experienced lawyer that raises "zealous represntation" to an absurd degree based on a personal belief that not even Hitler deserves his client's fate even if he is guilty of the crime charged and more... Well, this might cost a few bucks....