ABA Guidelines

The ABA Guidelines “continue to stand as the single most authoritative summary of the prevailing professional norms in the realm of capital defense practice.” Russell Stetler, W. Bradley Wendel, The ABA Guidelines and the Norms of Capital Defense Representation, Hofstra Law Review, Volume 41:635 (2013). Judicial Conference policy states that “[a]ll attorneys appointed in federal capital cases should comply with the American Bar Association’s 2003 Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases (Guidelines 1.1 and 10.2 et seq.), and the 2008 Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Death Penalty Cases.” Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol. 7A, Appx. 2A

American Bar Association Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases (2003)

The ABA Guidelines set forth a national standard of practice for the defense of capital cases in order to ensure high quality legal representation for all persons facing the death penalty.  The guidelines apply from the arrest of the defendant and extend to all stages of every case, including initial and ongoing investigation, pretrial proceedings, trial, post-conviction review, clemency proceedings, and any connected litigation.  The ABA maintains a list of cases citing to the Guidelines.  Clicking here will take you to that portion of the ABA site with this list.

Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Death Penalty Cases (2008)

Provides interdisciplinary performance standards to ensure that all members of the defense team perform in accordance with prevailing national norms when representing a death-eligible defendant.