Protecting the constitutional rights of someone facing the death penalty is a complex and compelling challenge. The Center for Justice in Capital Cases creates a higher standard of practice in the capital arena through vigorous advocacy and investigation, cutting-edge work in the social sciences, and a client-centered philosophy. By striving to safeguard the rights of indigent capital defendants, the Center hopes to reform the administration of criminal justice one life at a time.
Founded in 2000, the Center for Justice in Capital Cases is a resource for capital defense attorneys nationwide. It provides training for attorneys appointed to defend individuals charged with a capital crime and serves as a training ground for students interested in working on capital cases. The Center's death penalty legal clinic gives students an opportunity to acquire outstanding real-world experience through such responsibilities as researching cases, locating and interviewing witnesses, and writing motions.
In addition to providing continuing legal education for attorneys, the Center provides DePaul College of Law students with hands-on experience in death penalty cases. Because the Center's director and associate director maintain an active practice in capital cases, CJCC is able to give its second-and third-year law students the opportunity to work on discrete aspects of their cases. The students receive academic and clinical credit and a unique and invaluable educational experience.
The Center for Justice in Capital Cases is a resource for capital defense attorneys, defense investigators and mitigation specialist is nationwide. The Center organizes and presents seminars in Chicago and elsewhere that feature nationally-recognized authorities in areas such as trial and mitigation investigation, jury decision-making and selection, lawyer stress in the capital defense arena, and forensic pathology.
The Center houses the Clarence Darrow Death Penalty Defense College, an intensive, 5-day capital defense advocacy college. This runs concurrently with the Mitigation Training Program, a bring-your-own-case training seminar for mitigation specialists.
Many of these programs have been certified by the Illinois Supreme Court Capital Committee and have attracted a national audience.
The Center also co-sponsors an annual death penalty seminar with the Office of the Illinois State Appellate Defender.
Manuals & Model Pleadings
The Center also has developed and produced manuals and model pleadings for lawyers defending death penalty cases.