Spring 2003

Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project Award Grant to Study Inequities in Jurisdictions

In January 2003, the ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project received notice that it has been selected to receive a grant of approximately $860,000 from the European Commission's European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights to support one of the Project's primary objectives: an assessment of individual states' laws and processes relating to death penalty implementation.

Under the proposed grant project plan, a team of academics and other experts in each capital jurisdiction will work with the Project to identify inequities and problems in its death penalty system and will prepare a report outlining the kinds of changes necessary to achieve fairness and due process in death penalty administration.

The Section's 2001 publication, Death without Justice: A Guide for Examining the Administration of the Death Penalty in the United States ("the protocols"), will serve as the basis for the assessments.

The resulting reports will serve as bases for more comprehensive reviews that the ABA, through the Project, will encourage jurisdictions to undertake on their own. Although some states have conducted limited reviews or studies, only Illinois has conducted the type of review that the ABA has concluded is essential to identify and address core problems in death penalty laws and processes.

The Project expects to receive the award this spring and will conduct the assessments over the next two years.

The ABA was one of only seven organizations in the world selected for a grant involving death penalty issues, and only one of two organizations in the United States selected. The first results are scheduled to be released in early 2004.

The Project was established as an ABA entity in fall 2000 to help implement the ABA's 1997 death penalty moratorium resolution. It remains housed in the Section, which assists in its work. For more information, contact Project Director Deborah Fleischaker, (tel.: 202/662-1595; e-mail: fleischd@staff.abanet.org) or visit the Project's website at www.abanet.org/moratorium.

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