Mandel Legal Aid Clinic receives award for symposium on death penalty litigationBy Peter Schuler
The current, heated controversy in Illinois and other states over the use of the death penalty is focused in large part on lawyers who lack sufficient skills and represent indigent defendants.
The clinical professors at the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic decided to help solve this problem by working with the Illinois Association of Public Defenders to create an annual Death Penalty Litigation symposium at the Law School.
The Public Defenders Association honored this innovative program on Monday, May 13, with a special recognition award. Mark Heyrman, Interim Director of Clinical Programs and Clinical Professor in the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, accepted the award on the clinicís behalf from Rita Fry, the head of the Cook County Public Defenderís Office.
We are all gratified by the success of these seminars. We hope that over time they will significantly improve the quality of legal services for indigent defendants in Illinois who are very often badly served by our criminal justice system, Heyrman said.
Randolph Stone, Clinical Professor in the Law School and former Director of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, arranged for the clinic to co-sponsor the annual symposium with the Public Defenders Association. Stone is the former Public Defender of Cook County, Illinois.
Stone and Herschella Conyers, Assistant Clinical Professor, who also was formerly an attorney at the Office of the Cook County Public Defender, have presented at the symposium, which has been held at the Law School in the late summer over the past few years.