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October 10, 2018

2003 Guideline 10.8


A. Counsel at every stage of the case, exercising professional judgment in accordance with these Guidelines, should:

1. consider all legal claims potentially available; and

2. thoroughly investigate the basis for each potential claim before reaching a conclusion as to whether it should be asserted; and

3. evaluate each potential claim in light of:

a. the unique characteristics of death penalty law and practice; and

b. the near certainty that all available avenues of post-conviction relief will be pursued in the event of conviction and imposition of a death sentence; and

c. the importance of protecting the client’s rights against later contentions by the government that the claim has been waived, defaulted, not exhausted, or otherwise forfeited; and

d. any other professionally appropriate costs and benefits to the assertion of the claim.

B. Counsel who decide to assert a particular legal claim should:

1. present the claim as forcefully as possible, tailoring the presentation to the particular facts and circumstances in the client’s case and the applicable law in the particular jurisdiction; and

2. ensure that a full record is made of all legal proceedings in connection with the claim.

C. Counsel at all stages of the case should keep under consideration the possible advantages to the client of:

1. asserting legal claims whose basis has only recently become known or available to counsel; and

2. supplementing claims previously made with additional factual or legal information.