Death Penalty Moratorium Resolution (1997)

Short Name: Death Penalty Moratorium Resolution
Year Adopted: 1997
Meeting Where Adopted: Mid-Year
Policy Number: 1997 MY 107
Subjects: Death Penalty, Moratorium, Effective Assistance of Counsel, Post-Conviction/Habeas Corpus, Racial Bias, Intellectual Disability, Juveniles

Resolution Text:

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association calls upon each jurisdiction that imposes capital punishment not to carry out the death penalty until the jurisdiction implements policies and procedures that are consistent with the following longstanding American Bar Association policies intended to (1) ensure that death penalty cases are administered fairly and impartially, in accordance with due process, and (2) minimize the risk that innocent persons may be executed: 

(i) Implementing AB A "Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Counsel  in Death Penalty Cases" (adopted Feb. 1989) and Association policies intended to encourage competency of counsel in capital cases (adopted Feb. 1979, Feb. 1988, Feb. 1990, Aug. 1996); 

(ii) Preserving, enhancing, and streamlining state and federal courts' authority and responsibility to exercise independent judgment on the merits of constitutional  claims in state post-conviction and federal habeas corpus proceedings (adopted Aug. 1982, Feb. 1990); 

(iii) Striving to eliminate discrimination in capital sentencing on the basis of the race of either the victim or the defendant (adopted Aug. 1988, Aug. 1991); and 

(iv) Preventing execution of mentally retarded persons (adopted Feb. 1989) and persons who were under the age of 18 at the time of their offenses (adopted Aug. 1983). 

FURTHER RESOLVED, That in adopting this recommendation, apart from existing Association policies relating to offenders who are mentally retarded or under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of the offenses, the Association takes no position on the death penalty.

Download official pdf version with resolution text and accompanying report.