Duquesne Law Review


Judith Olmstead


Although state and federal constitutional guarantees of effective assistance of counsel would appear to include investigative, expert, and other necessary support services, such assistance is frequently denied or, more significantly, never requested by defense counsel. The author compares states which afford generous support to indigent criminal defendants facing a potential penalty of death with other states in which the right of support services is within the discretion of the trial court. This comment then focuses on death penalty verdicts affirmed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in which omission of such services and its effect on death penalty litigation is demonstrated by defense counsel who present little or no evidence in mitigation. The author recommends pretrial requests for assistance in addition to counsel in order to prevent the easily met standard of hindsight review which is evident in these recent cases

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