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Fighting for Their Lives: Inside the Experience of Capital Defense Attorneys
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Fighting for Their Lives: Inside the Experience of Capital Defense Attorneys

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  15 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
How do attorneys who represent clients facing the death penalty cope with the stress and trauma of their work? Through conversations with twenty of the most experienced and dedicated post-conviction capital defenders in the United States, "Fighting for Their Lives" explores this emotional territory for the first time. What it is like for these capital defenders in their la ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published March 15th 2013 by Vanderbilt University Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Staci Woodburn
Jan 02, 2015 Staci Woodburn rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I picked up this book because my boyfriend is a capital defender. I wanted to better understand what he goes through and how I could be a supportive partner. To that end, it was very insightful and I found the words of his colleagues to be moving and poignant.

The reason for the low rating is I think the quality of writing is quite terrible. The subject matter was great but the author woefully lacked structure. The entire thing felt like a series of quotes strung together and it was difficult to
Jul 12, 2015 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: summer-15
Susannah Sheffer gave such an excellent talk at my college a few years ago that I immediately emptied my wallet to buy her book, along with most other people in attendance. An activist in the movement to end the death penalty, she presents here a series of personal interviews with the lawyers who regularly represent death row clients in the last stage of the appeals process. In other words, the people who work long hours against the state, usually fruitlessly, in attempt to stop or delay executi ...more
Saloma Miller
Jun 15, 2013 Saloma Miller rated it really liked it
This is a poignant look at the psychological effects that defending death row inmates has on the attorneys who often have the impossible job of trying to prevent the state from killing their clients. Susannah Sheffer was both insightful and sensitive in the way she interviewed twenty of these attorneys and then told their stories. The issues she raises are absolutely soul-wrenching.

This is an important book because it raises questions about how we handle the worst of the worst among us. Is it e
Mark Flowers
Aug 07, 2013 Mark Flowers rated it it was amazing
SLJ review:

SHEFFER, Susannah. Fighting for Their Lives: Inside the Experience of Capital Defense Attorneys. 218p. index. Vanderbilt Univ. Mar. 2013. Tr $59.95. ISBN 9780826519108; pap. $27.95. ISBN 9780826519115; ebook $19.99. ISBN 9780826519122.

Adult/High School–Sheffer spent a year interviewing 20 attorneys who have devoted much of their careers to defending men and women sentenced to the death penalty. Misunderstood or maligned by laypeople who don’t u
Ted Lehmann
Apr 02, 2013 Ted Lehmann rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lawyers, People Interested in the death penalty, people wanting to write about the death penalty

The death penalty is the ultimate sanction our legal system can provide to those who commit crimes of violence and cruelty beyond our capacity to bear them. These people are seen as so beyond redemption that only their legal murder within our system can exact the appropriate toll. Yet there is a legal practice of attorneys devoted to post death penalty advocacy fighting tooth and nail, body and spirit to stave off the executions and keep these social outcasts alive. Many people ask, “How can any
Jun 06, 2013 Jill rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Fighting for Their Lives: Inside the Experience of Capital Defense Attorneys relates the personal experiences of capitol defense attorneys. The stories emphasize the humanity of these lawyers, and all involved in the process. Regardless of the reader's stance on capitol punishment, the experiences these people face feel common to any difficult endeavor. The ending of the book, however, may destroy any sympathy the body creates as it essentially says that there is something wrong with people who ...more
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