Guidelines Implementation Fact Sheet
In 2001, the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project led the effort to revise the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases ("ABA Guidelines"). The ABA Guidelines were overwhelmingly approved by the ABA House of Delegates on February 10, 2003.
The ABA Guidelines are now the recognized national standard of care for the defense effort in death penalty cases. They provide detailed guidance for capital defenders about the essential elements of effective representation. The ABA Guidelines are also regularly utilized by state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to assess counsel performance during appellate review and to understand the necessary qualifications, funding, and resources for the defense team at trial and in post-conviction proceedings.