Elisabeth Semel

Elisabeth Semel Notes Impact of Budget Cuts on Capital Cases

Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2011 by Carol J. Williams

“It would be stunning if prosecutors were not impacted by these developments. The financial issues just have to weigh significantly in some cases because prosecutors, defense lawyers and everyone involved in
government in California has had to make extraordinarily difficult choices about how to spend the resources they have, and they are well aware of what capital cases cost,” said Elisabeth Semel, a UC Berkeley law professor and founder of the school’s Death Penalty Clinic.

Elisabeth Semel Discusses Capital Cases, Jury Selection

-Daily Journal, December 6, 2011 by Laura Ernde
http://bit.ly/v0P9KU (registration required; go to H:\Law School in the
News\In the News 2011\News Clips for article)

“It’s not that you take a case to win a case. That’s a preposterous notion,” she said. “But it is deflating to see case after case is affirmed and feel that the prospects for your client are so abysmal.”

-The Beaumont Enterprise, December 6, 2011 by Amy Moore

“My perspective on juries is that we want diversity and we don’t want people to be excluded based on race or gender,” Semel said. “The operative question is what happened in this case? Were black people dismissed by the attorneys from being on the jury or were there not many in the pool to begin with?”

Elisabeth Semel Criticizes Death Penalty

-The Daily Californian, June 22, 2011 by Jalal Buckley

“There are many problems with its application, particularly how it discriminates against people of color,” Semel said. “It doesn’t prevent crime at the front end, in terms of stopping crimes from happening, it doesn’t provide for rehabilitation, it doesn’t deter crime, it doesn’t work.”

-The Recorder, June 24, 2011 by Kate Moser and Cheryl Miller
http://www.law.com/jsp/ca/index.jsp (registration required; go to H:\Law School in the News\In the News 2011\News Clips for article)

Having more trials in triable cases would be a good thing, death penalty opponents say. “These ought to be going to trial,” said Elisabeth Semel, a professor and director of the Death Penalty Clinic.

Elisabeth Semel Notes Strict ABA Guidelines in Death Penalty Cases

The Times-Standard, May 10, 2011 by Thadeus Greenson

“It’s the mantra, ‘death is different,'” Semel said. “There are a host of differences when someone is facing the death penalty in terms of legal responsibilities…. You need people experienced in looking for any facts that might appeal to an individual juror as a reason not to impose the death penalty,” Semel said. “That’s where all of these rather enormous and daunting responsibilities come in.”

Elisabeth Semel Criticizes Capital Punishment

-City on a Hill Press (UCSC), February 17, 2011 by Joey Bien-Kahn

Semel said that during moratoriums like the current one, the needless nature of capital punishment is most evident…. “If we can go that long without executing anyone, why do we need it?” she said. “It doesn’t make us safer. It doesn’t make us a more just society.”

-KPIX-TV, February 22, 2011 Host Robert Lyles

Professor Lis Semel says … our juries are condemning people to die, so every appeal should receive the highest scrutiny. Even if he’s had three trials. “There is most certainly a remedy, and the remedy is the abolition of the death penalty.”

Elisabeth Semel Predicts Legal Challenge if Lethal Injection Drug Replaced

Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2011 by Carol J. Williams

In California, the legal guidance for carrying out executions was amended in August after three years of debate and deliberation. The state’s new protocols specify use of sodium thiopental as the first drug in the three-injection sequence, and any substitution would require the state to again revise the protocols, said Elisabeth Semel.

Elisabeth Semel and Cliff Gardner Bemoan Shortage of Death Penalty Lawyers

Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2010 by Maura Dolan

“There are myriad reasons why dozens of lawyers who used to do these cases decide they can’t afford it,” said UC Berkeley law professor Elisabeth Semel. “I am talking about not going broke because you are trying to do the right thing for your client.”

“The idea that you are saving someone who is condemned under appointment by the court seems be the highest calling any criminal lawyer can have,” Gardner said. “Standing between the death chamber and your client is why we went to law school.”