April 18, 2018

2008 Guideline 1.1


A. The objective of these Guidelines is to summarize prevailing professional norms for mitigation investigation, development and presentation by capital defense teams, in order to ensure high quality representation for all persons facing the possible imposition or execution of a death sentence in any jurisdiction. All capital defense teams must be comprised of individuals who, through their experience, training and function, strive to fulfill the constitutional mandate that the sentencer consider all evidence in support of a sentence other than death. Mitigation evidence includes, but is not limited to, compassionate factors stemming from the diverse frailties of humankind, the ability to make a positive adjustment to incarceration, the realities of incarceration and the actual meaning of a life sentence, capacity for redemption, remorse, execution impact, vulnerabilities related to mental health, explanations of patterns of behavior, negation of aggravating evidence regardless of its designation as an aggravating factor, positive acts or qualities, responsible conduct in other areas of life (e.g. employment, education, military service, as a family member), any evidence bearing on the degree of moral culpability, and any other reason for a sentence less than death.

B. These Guidelines apply from the moment that counsel is appointed and extend to all stages of every case in which the jurisdiction may be entitled to seek the death penalty, including initial and ongoing investigation, pretrial proceedings, trial, appeal, post-conviction review, competency-to-be-executed proceedings, clemency proceedings and any connected litigation.

Cross- References:

ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases 1.1—Objective and Scope of Guidelines; 4.10—The Defense Team and Supporting Services.