Defending death penalty cases takes toll on attorneys - KOTA Territory News

Defending death penalty cases takes toll on attorneys


A prominent Rapid City defense attorney agreed with Eric Robert's lawyer, Mark Kadi, when he said Monday if more people watched an execution like that of his client, fewer would be carried out.

Tim Rensch said it's easy to support the death penalty, but until you're involved with it first-hand, there's no way to know what it's like.

Rensch defended Briley Piper for a stretch at the beginning of his murder prosecution.

Piper received the death penalty last year for his role in the 2000 killing of a Spearfish man.

Rensch said working with someone on such a complicated and personal case can bring about a close friendship between lawyer and defendant, "so there's always that aspect of it," he said.

"But handling a death penalty case is just an all-encompassing kind of a thing that permeates every aspect of your life," Rensch added.
He said that makes it difficult for attorneys just to pick up and move on to the next case, even before the execution is carried out.

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