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Chapter 6, § 670: Scheduling of Federal Death Penalty Case Authorization to Control Costs

Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol 7 Defender Services, Part A Guidelines for Administering the CJA and Related Statutes, Chapter 6: Federal Death Penalty and Capital Habeas Corpus Representations

§ 670 Scheduling of Federal Death Penalty Case Authorization to Control Costs

(a) Within a reasonable period of time after appointment of counsel under 18 U.S.C. § 3005, and only after consultation with counsel for the government and for the defendant (including, as appropriate, in an ex parte application or proceeding), the court should establish a schedule for resolution of whether the government will seek the death penalty.

(b) This schedule should include dates for:

(1) the submission by the defendant to the U.S. attorney of any reasons why the government should not seek the death penalty;

(2) the submission by the U.S. attorney to the appropriate officials of the DOJ of a recommendation and any supporting documentation concerning whether the death penalty should be sought; and

(3) filing of a notice under 18 U.S.C. § 3593(a) that the government will seek the death penalty, or notification to the court and the defendant that it will not.

(c) The schedule should be flexible and subject to extension for good cause at the request of either party (again, as appropriate, in an ex parte application or proceeding).

(d) The schedule should allow reasonable time for counsel for the parties to discharge their respective duties with respect to the question of whether the death penalty should be sought, with due regard to:

  • the factual complexity of the case;
  • the status of any continuing investigation of the crimes and related criminal conduct;
  • the anticipated or actual progress of discovery;
  • the potential for successful plea negotiations; and
  • any other relevant factors.

(e) It is also recognized that scheduling extensions may be necessary because the full development of facts related to guilt and aggravating and mitigating factors may continue even after the case is submitted to the DOJ for review.

Chapter Appendices

Appx 6A: Recommendations Concerning the Cost and Quality of Defense Representation (Updated Spencer Report, September 2010) (pdf)

Last substantive revision (Transmittal 07-008) February 28, 2014
Last revised (updated case compensation maximums) January 26, 2016