Add Resources and Apply Them Systemically: Governments’ Responsibilities Under the Revised ABA Capital Defense Representation Guidelines

By Eric M. Freedman / Hofstra Law Review, on 1 January 2003

The mainstream legal community, including the ABA, has long understood the importance of system-building, but the revised Guidelines state the point especially forcefully. In articulating “the current consensus about what is required to provide effective defense representation in capital cases,” they set high performance standards not just for lawyers, but for death penalty jurisdictions. As the problems are systemic, it is “imperative” that the solutions be.The Guidelines accordingly not only call on governments to deliver capital defense resources that are sufficient in amount, but also furnish the states with a user-friendly blueprint for using those resources wisely to create structures that will function well in the present and evolve effectively over time. This mandate for institution-building is welcome, and the states should lead it. Indeed, they must do so if the Guidelines are to achieve their ameliorative purposes and avoid becoming just a collection of lofty aspirations “‘that palter with us in a double sense, that keep the word of promise to our ear, and break it to our hope”.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Legal Representation,