In early June 2021, we were pleased to host an online webinar focused on the American Bar Association (ABA) 2003 guidelines for lawyers taking death penalty cases. Robin M. Maher, former Director of the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project and Emily Olson-Gault, current Director, shared their experience in developing and, now, monitoring the guidelines in the United States with participants from across Asia. The guidelines provide a minimum standard for lawyers taking death penalty cases. They have helped lawyers to improve and influenced changes in the law. We were joined online by lawyers, scholars and NGOs from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Taiwan as well as Australia.

We have highlighted segments of this event, that we hope will help you in your work:

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(1/5) Robin M. Maher - Introduction to the ABA Guidelines

Robin M. Maher, Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington University Law School and former Director of the American Bar Association (ABA) Death Penalty Representation Project, introduces her work developing the 2003 ABA Guidelines for the Appointment & Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases (ABA Guidelines) and their importance.

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(2/5) Robin M. Maher - Why the Guidelines were developed and the process.

Robin explains the reasons why the ABA Guidelines were developed and the process for creating them. There are at least three major reasons that defense representation guidelines are important in any death penalty system. These are: Guidelines help us become better lawyers; guidelines teach judges and government offcials about what defense lawyers do in death penalty cases; and guidelines can help influences changes in the law. To create the Guidelines, they first formed a committee of the most experienced defense lawyers in the country and then reviewed many death penalty cases and strategies and practices that worked best. As well as what practices had failed. This project took well over a year to complete.

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(3/5) Robin M. Maher - Some of the most important Guidelines

Robin talks specifically about some of the most important Guidelines, including the defense team; qualifications of counsel; investigation; relationship with client; training; resources and funding.

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(4/5) Emily Olson-Gault - How are the Guidelines used today?

Emily Olson-Gault, current Director & Chief Counsel of the Amercian Bar Association (ABA) Death Penalty Representation Project, explains the ways the ABA Guidelines are used today successfully. This includes setting standards for counsel that are appointed in capital cases; to monitor attorneys that are actively working on death penalty cases to ensure they are meeting the stanards; and to enable those lawyers to seek financial and expert resources. She explains how the Guidelines have been adopted across the United States and the work that still needs to be done.

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(5/5) Emily Olson-Gault - The Impact of the Guidelines

Emily explains the impact of the ABA Guidelines in the United States including the increase in qualifications and training; investment of state and federal resources in indigent defense; higher quality representation and fewer death sentences and executions. She also talks about the ongoing challenges and areas that still need improvement.

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Booking for this event has now closed.