NJC Capital Cases Resources
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Capital Litigation Improvement Initiative

The Capital Litigation Initiative was 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 was developed as part of NJC’s effort to provide resources to state trial judges on capital cases. The website is no longer updated regularly, but judges are welcome to access the resources contained within.

This web site was 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

Presiding over a Capital Case

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.






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