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Sutherland Long-time Death Penalty Client Samuel David Crowe Granted Clemency Within Hours of Scheduled Execution

May 23, 2008

ATLANTA (May 23, 2008) – The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has granted clemency to Samuel David Crowe today.  Mr. Crowe, a client of Sutherland for more than 11 years, was granted life without parole.  The decision was made on May 22, 2 ½ hours before Mr. Crowe was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. 

Mr. Crowe was sentenced to die after pleading guilty to robbing and killing 39-year-old Joseph Pala in 1988 at the Douglas County lumber store where Mr. Crowe used to work.  Prosecutors said Mr. Crowe was desperate for cash to pay overdue bills. 

Sutherland Partner Ann G. Fort led the death penalty team.  “Mr. Crowe deeply regrets the pain and loss he caused the Pala family," said Fort.  “We are grateful that the Board recognized Mr. Crowe’s efforts over 19 years to atone for this horrible crime."

Mr. Crowe has dedicated his life in prison to being a positive influence on others.  He has a perfect disciplinary record; he is known by the guards and inmates as a peacemaker; and he helps illiterate prisoners with their correspondence and has taught at least one to read.

This case has been a long-running pro bono case for Sutherland.  The majority of the firm’s pro bono work over the past two years has included death penalty, traditional poverty law, not-for-profit, traditional civil rights, claims under Federal 9/11 Victim's Compensation legislation, criminal habeas corpus, criminal appeals, immigration appeals, immigration worker litigation, affordable housing, public benefits, representation of persons involved in domestic relations and child custody disputes, wills and probate.

“We take great pride in our pro bono and public service activities," said Managing Partner Mark D. Wasserman.  “This was an effort that was very much in the best traditions of our firm and our long history of significant pro bono representations."

Sutherland is an AmLaw 100 law firm known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the world’s largest companies.  Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to approximately 500 lawyers with offices in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, New York, Tallahassee and Washington.  For further information about the firm, please visit

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