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Kentucky Capital Defense Training -- Capital Legal Education Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $49,950)

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 Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet is the fiscal agent for the Department of Public Advocacy (DPA), Kentucky's full-time, state-wide, public defender system. DPA will use this funding to support a state-based Kentucky Capital Defense Training project for a period of eighteen months. This project will be consistent with federal and state death penalty standards and will increase the number of Kentucky defenders, investigators, and mitigation specialists trained in capital defense as defined by the American Bar Association (ABA) Guidelines, state standards, and prevailing norms of practice. The five-day, four-part training program will address challenges in Kentucky death penalty defense by improving the skills, education, and professional resources of those representing the accused. The result of the training program will be a decrease in the number of capital reversals in Kentucky by ensuring reliable jury verdicts and minimizing post-conviction litigation.

The sixty training participants will include private contract attorneys in rural and underserved communities with the least adequate training and capital resources, particularly those in Appalachian and rural areas with a disproportionate number of death verdicts; and team members from states without the infrastructure to apply for this grant. The five-day Defender Death Penalty Institute will be held in August 2008 in Louisville. The curriculum will include appropriate capital case procedures and strategies, such as evidentiary rules and processes of capital cases, as well as how to build effective teams, how race affects the death penalty, how to advocate for resources and funding, and how to investigate reasonably available statutory and non-statutory mitigation evidence. Other relevant topic areas such as psychotic disorders, brainstorming theory, culture investigation, and cognitive limitations, such as mental retardation will also be addressed. Grant funds will support travel expenses and training materials for training participants.


Date Created: August 9, 2007