Jerry Guerinot is a Texas public defender noted for his involvement in numerous death penalty cases. In total, Guerinot has represented 39 clients facing capital punishment, of which 20 have received the death sentence. His record has attracted significant media controversy concerning his ability and the number of cases he was allowed to take on. However, Guerinot has maintained that judges routinely assigned him the most difficult and horrific cases, often involving multiple murders or the murder of a child. He has been dubbed the "death penalty express," "America's most lethal attorney" and the "undertaker for the state of Texas" by various media outlets.
Guerinot gained international notoriety in 2009 when his client, Linda Carty, a British citizen charged with murder and sentenced to death, appealed her case to the U.S. Supreme Court claiming incompetent legal counsel. According to a report by The New York Times, Guerinot met with her once for only 15 minutes before her trial. Guerinot also failed to inform Carty’s husband, Jose Corona, of his spousal right to refuse to testify against his wife at trial. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately refused to hear her appeal, and Carty now waits on death row. Gov. Rick Perry has received petitions and pleas for clemency on Carty's behalf from various anti-death penalty advocacy groups and international human rights organizations.
The case involving Carty drew much attention to Guerinot’s career. He no longer handles capital punishment cases, however, the Houston Chronicle reported that Guerinot handled more than 2,000 criminal cases between 2007 and 2008 — more than 12 times the caseload limit accepted by the National Legal Aid and Public Defender Association.