Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $100,000)
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 State of Virginia will utilize the Fiscal Year 2008 CCLI funds to train defense attorneys within the state of Virginia. As case law and recently published professional standards continue to define what is considered effective and sufficient mitigation investigation in capital cases, it has become increasingly difficult for appointed or retained capital counsel to determine their roles and responsibilities with respect to developing mitigating evidence. Education and training in the development and use of mitigating evidence is essential for capital defense counsel to provide an effective level of representation, and is vital to reducing the number of challenges and reversals on appeal due to violations of a defendant's Sixth Amendment rights. The State of Virginia proposes an educational offering for Virginia attorneys that will provide them with relevant and current information on the many factors and responsibilities that must be considered when undertaking mitigation investigation. They plan to collaborate with such organizations as the Virginia Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Habeas Assistance and Training Project of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in establishing and presenting the curriculum.