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Harris County Capital Training Initiative

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $39,695)

The purpose of the Capital Case Litigation Initiative (CCLI) is to provide high-quality training and technical assistance on death penalty issues to judges and attorneys who litigate death penalty cases. This program focuses on ensuring quality representation and reliable jury verdicts. The goals of CCLI are to increase the number of capital litigation attorneys trained in death penalty cases, and to ensure that defense counsel, prosecutors, and judges have the most up-to-date and comprehensive information available to them on death penalty litigation.

The Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE) will utilize the 2007 CCLI funds to train approximately 35 capital certified lawyers in Harris County and 10 lawyers from other areas within Texas and recruit 15 faculty members from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) to help deliver a training program that will not only address deficiencies in death penalty representation, but also bring attorneys into existing networks of capital defense teams where they can receive support from GRACE and other organizations and networks.

Over the past two years, through its Harris County Capital Pretrial Project, GRACE has been training attorneys on mitigation services, record collection, distribution of motions, and proven methods of capital defense. These methods are the same as those taught through NACDL's national curriculum. GRACE will partner with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) and the Texas Defender Service to incorporate the national curriculum in its May 2008 'Bring Your Own Case' training. The training will be conducted in Harris County and is targeted to 41 attorneys (most of whom have not attended any state or national training programs, e.g, TCDLA and NACDL) to further expose them to standards widely accepted by capital defenders in Harris County and will bring them into the larger national network of capital defenders.

The City of Houston (within Harris County) does not have a public defender system and most of its capital trial lawyers are not members of the TCDLA. This project will encourage certified capital attorneys in Harris County to attend these trainings so they will become more open to advice from GRACE and TCDLA attorneys, receive direct exposure to state and national methods, and build relationships with other capital defenders around the nation. Funds will cover partial personnel and fringe (GRACE Director and administrative staff); travel costs (airfare, lodging, etc.); supplies (invitation and informational packets, distribution materials, etc.); and meeting room space and audio/visual equipment.


Date Created: July 26, 2007