Guiding NACDL's Efforts in the Capital Punishment Area
Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Guiding NACDL's Efforts in the Capital Punishment Area
August 5, 2011
NACDL recognizes that the goal of abolishing the death penalty in the United States is advanced by continuing to reduce the number of new death sentences imposed each year. This objective, in turn, can be promoted by concentrating defense training and litigation support on the cases where the risk of new death sentences is greatest. NACDL's efforts in the capital punishment area should be focused on helping to provide targeted training and ongoing case consultation in areas of the country where death sentencing rates are high and where private and public organizations need assistance in meeting the need for high-quality targeted capital defense training and case consultation at the trial level. Accordingly, while recognizing that any and all proposals are subject to the availability of financial resources, the Committee proposes the following:
1. NACDL should allocate resources to establish an additional NACDL Death Penalty Counsel. This Counsel should, in collaboration with the National Consortium for Capital Defense Training, conduct the BJA-supported bring-your-own-case training and should also provide follow-up resource support to the defense teams after the trainings. Additionally, Death Penalty Counsel should support the efforts of NACDL's Death Penalty Committee, and provide advice and guidance to NACDL on all matters related to the capital punishment. Counsel's overarching role should be to maximize NACDL's effectiveness in supporting the movement to curtail and eventually end death sentencing in the United States.
2. NACDL must also recognize that apart from its own efforts, many entities and organizations provide invaluable support for death penalty defense and the movement to end capital punishment. To the extent possible, upon receipt of a request that comports with the Board adopted Donation Policy, NACDL should consider providing support for other deserving entities.
3. Upon receipt of a request that comports with the Board adopted Donation Policy, NACDL should continue to partner with and provide support to the Southern Center for Human Rights, specifically to support the highly successful Making the Case for Life trainings and the "Colorado Method" jury selection trainings. To the extent that these trainings are not self-sustaining, NACDL resources should be utilized to underwrite out-of pocket costs to fund these programs, as well to help underwrite SCHR staff costs. If, notwithstanding the availability of NACDL support, the SCHR does not wish to commit personnel to conduct these programs, NACDL should conduct them on its own.
4. NACDL resources should not be expended on direct trial representation.
5. NACDL should seek as much external support as possible to achieve all of the above objectives.