Judy Clarke

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Judy Clarke
Born 1952 (age 61–62)
Asheville, North Carolina
Education B.A. Furman University, 1974
J.D. University of South Carolina, 1977
Occupation Attorney
Spouse(s) Thomas H. Speedy Rice

Judy Clarke (born 1952)[1] is an American criminal defense attorney who practices law in San Diego, California and has served as appointed counsel in many high-profile cases throughout the United States. Clarke has previously served as President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.[2][3] She also serves as a Professor of Practice at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia.[4]

According to the Associated Press, "[s]he is one of the top lawyers in the country for defendants facing prominent death penalty cases, having represented clients such as 'Unabomber' Ted Kaczynski and Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph. She has a reputation for working out plea deals that spare defendants the death penalty, as was the case for Rudolph and Kaczynski."[5] Clarke has also represented convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui and child murderer Susan Smith, among others.[6] However, contrary to claims made by the Associated Press, Clarke was not involved in the legal representation of terrorist Timothy McVeigh, the executed perpetrator of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.[7] She has helped several high-profile defendants avoid capital punishment.[8] She's considered a "master strategist in death penalty cases" and opposes capital punishment.[8] Clarke returned to South Carolina the $82,944 fee approved by the trial judge for her defense of Susan Smith, so that the funds could be used to defend other indigent defendants charged with crimes.[8]

On January 10, 2011, the United States district court in Phoenix, Arizona assigned Clarke as defense counsel to Jared Lee Loughner, the perpetrator of the January 8, 2011 Tucson, Arizona shooting.[6] The Phoenix Public Defenders' Office had requested that Clarke be retained in order to allow Loughner to receive competent counsel without the possibility of a community-wide conflict of interest arising from proceedings against him for his alleged role in the shooting.[9] On August 7, 2012, Clarke brokered a deal sparing Loughner's life in exchange for a guilty plea to 19 counts, including the wounding of then congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. On April 29, 2013, Clarke was appointed to the defense team working with suspected Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.[10]


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