Where oh where did people get the idea that death penalty defense attorneys are making boatloads of money on death penalty cases? You see it all the time (if you're nutty like me and read comments on online news sites, especially) that members of the general public will complain about these lawyers who intentionally delay death penalty cases so they can stay on the gravy train. Because there is so much money in representing death row inmates.
Let me make something really clear. There's not a whole lot of money in death penalty defense. Yes, the lawyers make a living, but no one's getting rich doing this work. The vast majority of death row inmates don't have millions of dollars lying around to pay private counsel, so the lawyers are public defenders or appointed attorneys paid a pittance per hour by the state or county. Or they are do-gooder non-profit attorneys who get paid by agencies relying on donations. Or they are big firm attorneys doing pro bono work. All of these attorneys could be making a heck of a lot more money in some other area of the law.
There are lots of reasons why people come to do death penalty work, but money is not one of them.