This website is maintained by Steve Cooper and Richard Smith, two of the attorneys who have worked on Darlie Routier’s case in the years after her 1997 trial. Steve and Richard are both pro bono, meaning that neither of them gets paid for the work they do on Darlie’s behalf. They do so because of their strong belief that Darlie is innocent of the crime for which she was convicted, and that her death sentence is a miscarriage of justice.
Steve and Richard both agreed to be interviewed for the ABC television documentary series The Last Defense, which told Darlie’s story in four hours of prime time television starting on June 12, 2018. Due to the renewed interest in the case generated by the series, Steve and Richard thought it would be helpful to have a website where the public could view the evidence and make up their own minds about Darlie’s guilt or innocence.
Stephen Cooper returned to his home state of Texas in 1977 after working for the Indianapolis (Marion County) prosecutor’s office for two years. He began practicing criminal defense, handling both trials and appeals. He soon became involved as co-counsel in the appeal of the notorious wrongful conviction and death penalty case that would become memorialized in the documentary film The Thin Blue Line. The defendant in that case was ultimately freed due to prosecutorial misconduct committed by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. Stephen’s latest death penalty case involves another innocent person prosecuted in Dallas County, Darlie Lynn Routier, whose case he has been working on since her conviction in 1997. Stephen graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1973 and the Indiana School of Law in 1976.
Richard Smith is not even a criminal defense attorney. His regular legal practice is in civil law, particularly business litigation. He joined Darlie’s defense team in 2002 when the Washington D.C. office of the international law firm where he was working asked for a volunteer in Dallas to help out as local counsel on a new pro bono case the firm had taken on. Sixteen years later, he is still on the case. Richard is proud to say he was the lead author of the facts section of Darlie’s federal habeas corpus petition, which succinctly lays out many of the crucial flaws in the state’s case. Richard is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Iowa College of Law.
Other than agreeing to be interviewed, Steve and Richard played no role in the production of The Last Defense. This website is unaffiliated with and does not speak for the show, its producers, or ABC.