Through his distinguished career, Mr. Jaffe has successfully defended hundreds of clients facing murder charges, including over 60 where the death penalty would have been imposed, and professionals of all types, including lawyers, pharmacists, doctors, accountants, Mayors, etc. He is widely recognized as one of the top experts on criminal law in the United States and is frequently called upon by national media outlets for his insight on complex issues related to the death penalty and other areas of criminal law. Author of Quest for Justice: Defending the Damned, 1st and 2nd editions, Richard Jaffe is considered fearless and formidable by opposing counsel.
Mr. Jaffe is most well-known for his role in the exoneration of four Alabama death row inmates, as well as representing Eric Robert Rudolph, who is more commonly known as the Olympic Park Bomber. No client of Mr. Jaffe is currently on death row, and none have been executed. Few attorneys can make such claims, particularly considering the sheer number of cases Mr. Jaffe has handled.
When it comes to trial skill and an ability to sway jurors’ favor, Mr. Jaffe believes in taking a subtle approach by presenting his clients’ cases in such a manner as to let jurors form their own opinions about witness testimony, which leads to more certainty in their beliefs and, therefore, more arguments to his clients’ advantage during deliberation.
Mr. Jaffe is currently Senior Partner at Jaffe, Hanle, Whisonant & Knight, P.C. in Birmingham, Alabama. He brings his over 40 years of legal experience to the firm’s white-collar crime and criminal litigation practice in State and Federal Court.
Education & Early Career
Mr. Jaffe is an Alabama native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama and his Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1976. He started his legal career as a prosecutor, hired as an Assistant Attorney General in the criminal appellate division. He then served as Deputy District Attorney in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, before going into private practice.