Monica Foster on Defending Death Row Clients

foster.jpgIn the most recent issue of Indiana Super Lawyers, writer Nancy Henderson profiled Indianapolis-based criminal defense lawyer Monica Foster, who has represented many clients on death row.

An excerpt:

Defending an innocent person is "completely overwhelming," says Foster. "Every time I see Barry Scheck"--the co-founder of the Innocence Project, an organization that uses DNA testing to exonerate wrongfully convicted defendants--"I'm like, 'You know what, Barry? You can take those innocent people. I don't want them--too much responsibility. Gimme the guilty ones.'"

This outlook, however, doesn't affect her ability to understand both sides of a case. "I do care if my client gets executed, no matter what hideous, horrible thing they've done. And believe me, most of them have done pretty hideous, horrible things," she says. "I also have empathy for the people that they have hurt. I really believe that you cannot do this work effectively unless you can embrace that hurt and that gut-wrenching sorrow. You have to sort of own it all in order to stand up and ask that a jury spare somebody's life. And so there are many nights when I go home and sob."

Read the full story here.