Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Appellate Practice and Process

Publication Date

Fall 2003


On February 10, 2003, the American Bar Association approved the revised edition of its Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases. Their purpose is to articulate the "national standard of practice for the defense of capital cases" ; they "are not aspirational. Instead, they embody the current consensus about what is required to provide effective defense representation in capital cases." Because the ABA does not oppose the death penalty but does believe in justice, it sets as its bedrock criterion the principle that "any jurisdiction wishing to impose a death sentence must at minimum provide representation that comports with these Guidelines."