Judy Clarke, the court-appointed attorney representing Jared Loughner, is known in the the legal world as "the One-Woman Dream Team." A fierce opponent of the death penalty with a "passion for justice," Clarke has defended a long line of notorious criminals, and is widely respected by her colleagues. (Watch a report about Loughner's first court appearance.) Here, a brief guide to the lawyer defending the man accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the Tucson rampage:
Who is Judy Clarke?
A graduate of the University of South Carolina's law school, Clarke has more than three decades of criminal defense experience. She started out as a public defender, and vaulted to prominence in 1995 when, in her first death-penalty case, she defended Susan Smith, a woman accused of drowning her two young sons. She now teaches at Virginia's Washington and Lee University, and works on death penalty cases across the country. Clarke is known for avoiding the press, and her humility is "so uncharacteristic among criminal defense lawyers that it's almost freakish," says a friend and colleague. But she's as effective as she is unorthodox, says Todd Maybrown, a defense attorney who has sought Clarke's advice on death penalty cases. "She would be my first, second, and third choice," he says.
Whom has she defended?
Clarke has made "a name for herself defending the undefendable," says Justin Spees in Salon. Her client reads like a roster of defendants in the most "notorious" cases of the past 15 years. After working on the defense team for Susan Smith, Clarke went on to represent "Olympic Park Bomber" Eric Rudolph, who was convicted for a blast during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that killed two people. She also defended "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, the "mad genius" who terrorized the country for decades with his letter bombs; and Zacarias Moussaoui, a 9/11 conspirator and al Qaeda operative. Her work has won the acclaim of colleagues, and earned her a reputation as "the patron saint of criminal defense attorneys."
Did she get any of those people acquitted?
No, they are all serving life sentences. But Clarke helped them to avoid the death penalty, striking deals with prosecutors that might have initially seemed "out of the question," according to David Bruck, a law professor and one of Clarke's close friends. "Some of these cases are not about, 'Is the defendant guilty?'" says Quin Denvir, who worked with Clarke on the Unabomber case. They hinge on influencing "what the sentence is going to be." Ted Kaczynski's brother, David, recalls how Clarke "saw the human being inside Ted... for that I will be extremely grateful." In the Smith case, the defense team worked to find some sympathy for their client, even though she'd murdered her own children, recalls the prosecutor on the case, Tommy Pope. That strategy was "effective for Smith," and with Loughner, the "goal and... task will be to humanize" him.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How I lost all my money
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- A brief history of the Christmas present
- 10 things you need to know today: December 21, 2014
- How Wall Street is chipping away at reform
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
Subscribe to the Week