Capital Punishment, Advanced: Providing Effective Assistance of Counsel in Capital Trials

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
TUE, THU 9:05 - 10:20 am JON 5.257

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


The ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Cases (2003) state that “the responsibilities of defense counsel in a death penalty case are uniquely demanding, both in the knowledge that counsel must possess and in the skills he or she must master.” This advanced death penalty course studies various aspects of capital trial defense that must be mastered to meet contemporary standards of practice. The course addresses defense counsel’s duty to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the client’s social history; counsel’s duty to identify and investigate issues of trauma, race, culture, and mental health presented by the client and the case; counsel’s duty to pursue a negotiated settlement of the case; and counsel’s duty to develop an integrated theory of the case. Classes alternate between traditional lectures and class discussion of assigned readings, presentations by occasional guest speakers, and workshops in which students will apply course reading and instruction to a series of lawyering assignments related to an actual pending capital case.


Textbooks ( * denotes required )

No materials required


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