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Life in the Balance  | Appellate Defender Training  |  | Train the Trainers  | National Partners
Conference Information





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NASAMS Sentencing Advocacy Training 

2014 Life in the Balance:

A Mitigation, Litigation and Investigation Conference

September 4-7, 2014, Baltimore, MD

Join us in Baltimore for the Life in the Balance conference to develop and improve the interviewing, investigation, litigation, mitigation, and advocacy skills and techniques needed to save lives in all phases of capital defense.

With more than 90 sessions over three and a half days, the 2014 Life in the Balance conference will provide an opportunity to learn from and work with the most successful and forward-thinking attorneys, mitigation specialists, investigators and experts from across the nation. The faculty will offer expert guidance and instruction on such topics as:

  • Mental health, including Atkins, the MMPI and competence to be executed
  • Taking death off the table through plea negotiations and effective advocacy for your client’s life
  • Race and culture and their implications for the defense team, the jury and the courts
  • Motion practice and preservation of error
  • Defense team dynamics
  • ABA standards, Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function
  • Ethics and constitutionally effective assistance
  • Capital Juries: How to pick them, talk to them and understand the way they work

Individual case consultations will also be offered.

Who Should Attend Life in the Balance?

Participants must be involved in the defense of persons accused in capital and serious felony cases and are typically defense attorneys, mitigation specialists and defense investigators. Participants come from a variety of practice settings and public defender offices: solo, small and large.

If You Are New to Capital Defense...

Life in the Balance will offer training in all basic skills, including: developing a relationship with your client and client’s family, locating and interviewing witnesses, gathering and organizing documents and evidence.

If You Are a Seasoned Capital Defense Team Member...

You can be assured of going home with new information and materials that will make a difference in your cases. Sessions will be presented on complex areas of death penalty representation, such as multiple defendant cases, cases crossing international boundaries and federal death penalty prosecutions. Life in the Balance will provide new insights and methods for well experienced practitioners.

Capital Appeals, Habeas Corpus, and Post-Conviction Practice

Since most capital cases do not end at the trial level, Life in the Balance will include sessions that cover the process from the moment a death verdict is returned through cert in the Supreme Court. Experienced practitioners and experts will help you navigate the complex terrain of capital appeals and habeas procedure and the painstaking methods of factual reinvestigation and presentation that post-conviction proceedings require.

Federal Capital Cases

Since federal practice is different, special sessions will be offered to address the nuances of capital defense in the federal courts. Need help with your case? Bring your case with you. Opportunities will be available for you to meet one-on-one with experienced lawyers, mitigation specialists and investigators.