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The ABA Death Penalty Due Process Review Project is funded by the ABA’s Fund for Justice and Education (FJE), the ABA’s 501(c)(3) charitable fund. Year over year, FJE provides funding to support the Project’s single staff member, as well as any programmatic activities of the Project. The Project is housed in the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, which provides in-kind supervisory and administrative support to the Project. The Project is also the recipient of in-kind support from volunteer lawyers, law firms, and law students across the country.
In 2003 and again in 2009, the ABA Death Penalty Due Process Review Project was also selected to receive a grant from the European Commission's European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) to examine the extent to which U.S. capital jurisdictions' death penalty systems comport with minimum standards of fairness and due process. In 2003, the grant was one of only ten death penalty-related grants that the EC awarded worldwide, and one of only two in the United States. The award attests to the prestige that the ABA has earned in the eyes of the international community through its commitment to this issue, and it represents a vote of confidence in the Project's capacity to carry out the grant objective.
Due in large part to the success of the first round of assessments, EIDHR again selected the Project as a grantee to fund assessments of the death penalty in states not examined during the previous grant period. Pursuant to the grant awarded in 2009, the Project will evaluate four additional capital jurisdictions over a period of four years. EIDHR will commit up to 708,162 euros to the Project over the four-year period of the grant (2009-2013). With EIDHR support, the Project is able to employ staff attorneys to assist Assessment Teams in their review of state death penalty systems and provide other resource-dependent support to the state assessment process. The ABA is also required to provide matching financial support under the terms of the grant.
While the European Union supports abolition of the death penalty, neither the State Assessment Teams recruited to conduct the Assessments on the death penalty, or the ABA, take any position on the use of capital punishment per se. Instead, it is the objective of the Assessment Teams and the ABA to evaluate each capital jurisdiction in light of the ABA Protocols to determine the degree to which the jurisdiction achieves fairness and accuracy in administration of the death penalty. As with any grantor, EIDHR has not sought and does not have any input on the issues an Assessment Team addresses in each report, who will be hired to conduct the research, how the research is collected, or who will participate on the Assessment Teams. EIDHR does not have any input in to any Assessment Team’s findings and conclusions. The ABA and the Assessment Teams control the substance and the methodology employed to complete the objectives of the grant proposal.