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Capital Case Litigation Initiative (CCLI)


CCLI provides training and technical assistance (TTA) to both prosecutors and defense attorneys who work on the adjudication of capital cases. CCLI delivers in-person training, online resources, and hands-on assistance to:

  1. Enhance the ability of prosecutors to effectively represent the public in state capital cases.
  2. Improve the quality of the legal representation provided to indigent defendants in state capital cases.
  3. Develop and implement appropriate standards of practice and qualifications for state and local prosecutors who litigate capital cases.
  4. Minimize the potential for error in the trial of capital cases.

Death as a punishment for a crime, or capital punishment, is currently authorized in 31 states. These cases are governed by unique evidentiary rules and processes and require a specific set of skills to both defend and prosecute. From pre-trial to execution, each stage of a capital case is unique and requires extensive knowledge and training in order to represent a client as well as represent the state.

A strong criminal justice system has a robust adversarial system and ensures that both prosecutors and defense attorneys have the training and technical assistance necessary to effectively carry out their legal obligations in the most important cases. To that end, CCLI focuses on training for prosecutors and defense counsel, standards of practice, qualifications and performance assessments for prosecutors, and potential justice system improvements to minimize the potential for error in the trial of capital cases.


CCLI is authorized pursuant to 34 U.S.C. §§ 60301-60306, which requires funding be allocated equally between defense and prosecution. Visit also 28 U.S.C. § 530C(a) for additional information.

Date Modified: October 13, 2022
Date Created: December 9, 2019