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January 8, 2007

Press Contacts: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or kfortune@law.utexas.edu, or Professor Rob Owen, Co-Director, UT Law Capital Punishment Center, 512-232-9391, rowen@law.utexas.edu, or Professor Jordan Steiker, Co-Director, UT Law Capital Punishment Center, 512-232-1346, jsteiker@law.utexas.edu.

UT Law Presents Symposium on Legal Representation in Capital Cases, Feb. 8

AUSTIN, Texas —The Capital Punishment Center and the American Journal of Criminal Law at The University of Texas School of Law will host a symposium on efforts to improve legal representation in capital cases on Thursday, Feb. 8. The event is free and open to the public.

The symposium, “Capital Representation in Transition: Emerging Standards and Effective Enforcement,” will be held in the Law School’s Eidman Courtroom from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.  A reception will follow in the Jamail Pavilion from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Symposium participants will discuss the increased efforts of courts, legislatures, and bar organizations to improve representation in capital cases in Texas and across the nation. Speakers will include state and federal judges, members of national and state bar committees focused on improving capital representation, lawyers, and scholars.

Four topics will be addressed at the symposium. They include prevailing representational practices in Texas; the effects of inadequate state court representation; national and state representational guidelines in capital cases; and enforcement of standards of representation.  To view details of the symposium’s schedule go to http://www.utexas.edu/law/academics/clinics/capital/caprep.php.

 “The Capital Punishment Center is excited to hold this timely event,” said Professor Jordan Steiker, co-director of the Capital Punishment Center.  “We have arrived at a point where participants in capital litigation – prosecutors, defense counsel, and judges – are united in their determination to improve representation,” he said.

“But as in other areas of important public policy, increased resources and determination are not enough.  We must evaluate the structures in which capital representation occurs and focus on the institutional designs that have produced the present crisis of inadequate representation,” Steiker continued. “The participants in this symposium bring extraordinary experience and insight to this task and are extraordinarily well-suited to critically engage the present and creatively reimagine the future,” Steiker said.
 
UT Law’s Capital Punishment Center and American Journal of Criminal Law are the primary sponsors of the symposium, which is also co-sponsored by the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project and the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at UT Law. 

The Capital Punishment Center promotes research and practice opportunities in death penalty law.  The Center sponsors academic events, pursues research projects concerning the administration of the death penalty, and houses the Capital Punishment Clinic, which provides direct representation and assistance to indigent defendants on death row in Texas. The American Journal of Criminal Law is one of the top student-edited legal journals in the nation devoted to exploring current issues in criminal law.

Related Links:
The American Journal of Criminal Law: http://utdirect.utexas.edu/lomain/orjo.WBX?group_code=S02
UT Law Creates Capital Punishment Center and Expands Programs Relating to the Death Penalty: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2006/040606_cpcopening.html
Capital Punishment Clinic Returns to U.S. Supreme Court: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2006/101006_cpc.html
ABA Death Penalty Representation Project:
http://www.abanet.org/deathpenalty