The Clarence Darrow/David Baldus Death Penalty College
June 4-8, 2024. Starting at 1 pm on the 4th and ending at noon on the 8th.
Participants spend the week working on their own pending cases as well as learning from some of the most prestigious capital defense trainers in the country. Each day, participants engage in various learning activities, including small group sessions, lectures, role playing, and strategy demonstrations for guilt/innocence and penalty phases. Solo practitioners without an active case are welcome to attend.
Small group sessions are designed to provide constructive feedback and encouragement while also brainstorming the case and doing actual case preparation for the capital trial. These sessions are followed by lectures and demonstrations for smaller groups or plenary sessions for all participants. Evenings are primarily unscheduled, allowing participants to explore all that Iowa City has to offer.
The program is held in honor of the late Professor David Baldus, whose thorough, groundbreaking capital punishment research significantly impacted the death penalty defense community and legal community as a whole. Professor Baldus is best known for “the Baldus study,” cited by the United States Supreme Court in McCleskey v. Kemp, although his research extends far beyond.
Intensive Intellectual Disability Track
Intellectual disability is an absolute bar to the death penalty, making this a necessary area of investigation in every capital case. There are no exceptions.
This intensive training introduces participants to the nuances of investigating and litigating intellectual disability claims and features strategies for overcoming common barriers to identifying and effectively presenting evidence of ID. This course is geared towards intermediate and experienced capital practitioners. Beginners are welcome to attend, but the material is advanced.
It is our mission to ensure that no one with intellectual disability is ever executed. We are dedicated to equipping all members of the defense team with the tools needed to discover, investigate, and effectively litigate intellectual disability.
Intellectual disability can be difficult to detect. Often, clients go to great lengths to hide their disability due to shame and embarrassment, even when it can save their life. Unlike common stereotypes, those with intellectual disability cannot be identified based on their appearance or superficial interactions. Clients may appear “normal” in the context of school, work, family or when we first encounter them as the defendant in a capital prosecution. Education is crucial to overcome these stereotypes.
This training will offer the most up-to-date legal and scientific information concerning ID and provide hands-on opportunities to practice skills needed to screen effectively for ID. Students will learn how to work with mental-health experts and how to develop and provide the detailed life-history information needed for an effective evaluation. Instructors will include psychologists, lawyers, and mitigation specialists who are experts on the subject.
By registering for this training, I am affirming that today I am neither a prosecutor, nor attending this training with the purpose of aiding the prosecution of any criminally accused. I further affirm that I am dedicated to the ideals of the criminal defense practitioner, and am committed to the causes of effective and zealous defense of those charged with crimes, the protection and assertion of constitutional rights afforded the criminally accused, and the recognition and preservation of human dignity of those charged with crimes. I further affirm that my use of the information provided by this training will not be used by me in any manner which would impugn the above set out ideals.