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Paul, Weiss is committed to providing impactful pro bono legal assistance to individuals and organizations in need. Our program is all-encompassing, spanning the core issues facing our society.

Criminal Justice

Our work in the criminal justice area is extensive and varied.

We regularly represent indigent defendants in federal habeas-related investigations, petitions and appeals; have devoted tens of thousands of hours to capital cases; and have represented prisoners in landmark lawsuits challenging their treatment or conditions of confinement. We are also involved in cutting-edge cases, including one curtailing the use of eye-witness identifications in court.

Below are some highlights:

  • In 2019, after a 15-year fight on his behalf, we secured the freedom of Pablo Fernandez, who was wrongfully convicted in 1996 of a murder he did not commit and who served 24 years behind bars.
  • In 2017, after trying the case three times, we won the acquittal of Selwyn Days, a disabled African-American man with a history of psychiatric illnesses who was convicted of double murder and who served 17 years for a crime he did not commit.
  • We helped Delaware’s longest serving death-row inmate win his freedom after more than 20 years on death row. 
  • We secured the reversal of a murder conviction for a client who had served 25 years in prison based on eyewitness misidentifications.
  • In State v. Dickson at the Connecticut Supreme Court, we obtained an opinion that overturned precedent and significantly curtailed the use of in-court identifications in criminal cases.
  • We successfully obtained clemency, under an initiative of former President Obama, for several incarcerated individuals convicted of non-violent offenses and subject to lengthy sentences under mandatory sentencing rules.
  • We drafted legislation, in coordination with the Correctional Association of New York, that led to a new law that significantly curtailed the use of shackles on pregnant women incarcerated in New York State.

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