Reclusive death penalty lawyer opens up about work

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Associated Press

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 26 at 7:04 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One of the nation's top death penalty lawyers who rarely talks about her famous cases has addressed a Los Angeles legal conference.

Judy Clarke spoke to a gathering of lawyers, judges and law students Friday at Loyola Law School. She talked about her passion for defending some of the most despised defendants in America.

Clarke has represented Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph and Jared Loughner, who shot up an Arizona shopping center gravely wounding congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The San Diego-based attorney says her mission is to save the lives of people she feels are mentally ill. She tries to negotiate life sentences for them and often succeeds.

She says she believes that her clients, who have endured trauma and mental illness, deserve loyalty from their lawyer.

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