Capital Litigation Improvement Initiative
The Capital Litigation Initiative is an initiative of President Bush administrated by the Bureau of Justice Assistance to provide training and technical assistance to state trial judges to improve the reliability of verdicts in capital cases and to assist state trial judges in managing capital cases.
As part of this initiative, The National Judicial College has
provided educational training to individual states and is
creating a publication for judges on managing a capital case.
This website is The National Judicial College’s effort
to provide resources to state trial judges on capital cases.
This web site is funded through a grant from the Bureau
of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department
of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor
any of its components operate, control, are responsible for,
or necessarily endorse, this web site (including, without
limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies,
and any services or tools provided).
Presiding over a Capital Case:
A Benchbook for Judges
In implementing the death penalty, society has an obligation to ensure it doesn’t execute an innocent person. As a result, lawyers and judges have created a costly, time-consuming, resource-consuming system that provides for multiple levels of review to ensure the process is as fair and accurate as humanly possible. This after-the-fact review system has resulted in a criminal prosecution process that is unique to death penalty cases which includes expanded speedy trial time limits, the appointment of two qualified defense attorneys, defense mitigation teams, special jury selection procedures, and multi-phase trials.