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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Santa Clara Law Hosts Training Program for Death Penalty Attorneys

Defense lawyers with pending capital cases will come to college at Santa Clara Law on Aug 4 for a six-day intensive training program with some of the nation's leading death penalty attorneys.

The 17th annual  Death Penalty College offers intensive training where defense lawyers discuss their cases in small-group workshops. The Death Penalty College is presented by Santa Clar University, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and the California Public Defenders Association and co-sponsored by the American Bar Association's Death Penalty Representation Project

The workshop sessions, which begin Aug 4 and continue through Aug. 9, are not open to the public because of lawyer-client privilege. (Faculty will be available for media interviews.)

"The college fosters a feeling of cooperation and community among participants and faculty who are united in the common goal of saving lives," said Ellen Kreitzberg, director of the Death Penalty College and professor of criminal law at Santa Clara University School of Law. “Every criminal defense attorney faces his or her greatest challenge in the representation of a person charged in a capital case," said Kreitzberg who directs the program. This program is unique in that lawyers work on their actual cases and not on a casebook hypothetical.

The SCU law school program has consistently attracted leading death penalty attorneys from across the country.

The Death Penalty College has been approved for 36 hours of minimum continuing legal education credit by the State Bar of California. Participants pay tuition to attend the program, and death penalty attorneys volunteer as faculty. The college focuses on helping attorneys learn how to prepare and present the penalty phase of a death penalty case, which is held after a guilty verdict has been reached in a criminal trial. During the penalty phase, a jury considers factors that shape a defendant's life.

[Mark Godsey]

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