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 Mississippi Attorney General will utilize the Fiscal Year 2008 CCLI funds to train prosecutors within the state of Mississippi. With approximately ten death penalty-eligible cases tried per year throughout the state of Mississippi and no advanced qualification requirements for counsel in these cases, prosecutors have the potential to be assigned to a capital case with little to no experience or training. The nature of death penalty cases demands higher standards, including the proper structure in indictment, more stringent pre-trial and discovery standards, and extensive witness preparation, in order to avoid mistrial. Existing resources do not meet the needs of due diligence because limited financial resources restrict the ability to offer the intensive series of classes and experienced instructors needed in a true capital litigation course. In response to this need, the Mississippi Attorney General will confer special certification on attorneys who complete a 40-hour capital litigation course, which will be offered in a series of training summits. The state also proposes to offer regional workshops for District Attorneys and Assistant District Attorneys across the state. They will collaborate with the Mississippi Prosecutors Association, the National District Attorneys Association, the National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators, and the Association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation in establishing and presenting the curriculum.