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FY2022 National Training and Technical Assistance: Capital Case Litigation Initiative

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,452,675)

This project will support capital case litigation with training and technical assistance (TTA) services, tools, and resources to help capital defense teams meet recognized standards of competence in death penalty representation. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) will build on and leverage the tools and resources it has already developed under this program, and proposes to: (1) conduct six in-person Bring-Your-Own-Case (BYOC) training programs for capital defense teams; (2) provide coaching and training via ongoing technical assistance for BYOC program participants; (3) continue to develop capital litigation-based resources and other tools to help guide defense teams improve the quality of representation provided; and (4) engage subject matter experts in criminal legal system program and intervention evaluation at RTI international to better assess and ensure that TTA delivery is needs-driven, evidence-based, efficient, and consistent. In-person BYOC programs will primarily draw attendees regionally or nationwide but will also include office-based training programs as warranted. In-person programs will be augmented with and conducted alongside virtual BYOC programs. These programs and services will continue to focus on issues such as mental health and competency, mitigation strategy, communication with clients and their families, and conducting effective investigations to ensure effective representation at trial and reduce post-conviction and appellate claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Technical assistance will emphasize implementation of training program subject material, access to experts to support case preparation, and telephone and web-based resources including a capital litigation listserv for defense counsel. Both the training programs and ongoing technical assistance will heavily emphasize on peer-to-peer support, including especially in the brainstorming breakout sessions at the BYOC training programs.


For all services, NACDL will use a range of delivery methods—e.g., NACDL intends to continue making both BYOC and technical assistance available via webinars, peer-to-peer learning, online training, etc. In-person training programs will be held in strategically targeted locations to satisfy unmet demand for federally funded training. Internet-based training programs will both supplement in-person training programs and provide ongoing opportunities for remote/virtual training where beneficial or appropriate. Through follow-up technical assistance, NACDL will maximize the impact of CCLI training and will help capital defense teams utilize their CCLI training to address new and continuing challenges arising from the extraordinary complexities of trying a capital case. NACDL requests an award of $1,000,000 to implement these goals through September 30, 2025.

Date Created: September 27, 2022