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Death penalty lawyers go to 'college' at SCU

Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2007

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 18, 2007 - 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 Clara 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.

Participants in the death penalty college are taught new skills, such as how to collect information and investigate a person's background. "You're not looking at the same kind of facts as in a no-death murder case. A lawyer must be prepared to extensively and meticulously investigate a clients background, education, work and social history and be able to tell the client’s story to the jury,” Kreitzberg says.

MEDIA:  To request an interview with Ellen Kreitzberg contact Deepa Arora in SCU media relations at 408-554-5125.

About SCU School of Law

The SCU School of Law, founded in 1912, combines a tradition of excellence with a commitment to ethics, diversity, and social justice, and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Many of its 968 students work in criminal and civil community law clinics, and may earn certificates in intellectual property law, international law, or public interest law. Law degrees may be combined with an MBA or master’s degree in taxation, and the law school offers lawyers master’s degrees in international law and intellectual property law.

Tags: Death-Penalty-lawyers

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