"The truth of it in this country is that the law exists to protect everybody. And in particular, that has its greatest force when it's protecting the weakest and the most undesirable. The protection of their rights really is what insures the protection of everybody's rights. You blow through theirs; it's a lot easier to blow through somebody else's."
--McClatchy News Service reporter Stephen Henderson
The Supreme Court has ruled that even convicted murderers have a right to a vigorous defense when a jury is deciding whether or not to execute them. In an extraordinary four-year investigation, McClatchy Supreme Court beat-reporter Stephen Henderson finds that defense lawyers in four states are failing that test; as a result their clients - even those who have suffered lifetimes of abuse and/or have IQs suggesting mental retardation - are heading to death row. Henderson takes EXPOSÉ inside the world of death penalty defense armed only with a reporter's notebook and the pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution he carries everywhere he goes. Henderson doesn't only expose defense efforts gone wrong. He also introduces EXPOSÉ to a group of public defenders who go the extra mile, with striking results.
Read Stephen Henderson's original reporting, "No Defense: Shortcut to Death Row,"
which appeared in McClatchy papers around the country in January 2007.