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Indiana Public Defender Council - Capital Case Litigation Initiative

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $48,920)

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.

In 1992, the Indiana Supreme Court adopted Criminal Rule 24, which requires that indigent capital defendants receive representation from two attorneys ' each attorney must have a specified level of experience and receive at least 12 hours of specialized death penalty training. Rule 24 was later amended in 1993 by adding life without parole as a sentencing option in death penalty cases. Since its adoption, the number of capital cases filed in Indiana has reduced. This reduction has resulted in a decreased pool of defense attorneys with actual death penalty trial experience. Some of these attorneys who work exclusively on death penalty cases handle multiple cases at any one time.

The Indiana Public Defender Council (IPDC) was created in 1977 as a state-funded support center for Indiana public defenders to provide training, research, and manuals on law and practice. The IPDC will utilize the 2007 CCLI award to increase its training opportunities and to provide effective capital trial skills training to the existing pool of capital defenders in order to improve the quality of representation in the greatest number of cases. The ultimate goal of IPDC is to enlarge the State's pool of trained and experienced capital litigators by utilizing the newly trained attorneys to train additional attorneys. In the past two years, IPDC has conducted two trial skills training programs in central Indiana. Important lessons learned included: using a mitigation investigator, developing a trusting relationship with the client, and careful interviewing of prospective jurors during voir dire.

The IPDC will utilize the 2007 CCLI funds to expand the State's pool of capital defense litigators by: (1) training 10 Indiana lawyers who regularly provide capital representation; (2) utilizing these lawyers to serve as faculty to train new attorneys who do not regularly provide capital representation; (3) working with the National Consortium on Capital Defense Training to design a curriculum for small-group trainings; and (4) providing three, two-day trainings by utilizing the nationally recognized 'bring your own case' training model and utilizing lessons learned from past trainings. Funds will cover: travel costs (out-of-state voir dire and death penalty college trainings for faculty and in-state trainings for newly appointed attorneys); supplies (general office supplies, training materials, and postage); consultant fee with IPDC's regular training director to plan, organize, and coordinate the three trainings; and other costs (meeting room and audio-visual rental, and hiring of local actors to play the role of jurors during each training).


Date Created: August 9, 2007