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Update on the Cost and Quality of Defense Representation in Federal Death Penalty Cases

This update on the cost and quality of defense Representation in Federal Death Penalty Cases was released in September 2010.

This report updates the 1998 Spencer Report. It includes revised commentary, endorsed by the Judicial Conference Committee on Defender Services, to the 1998 recommendations approved by the Judicial Conference.

The report is organized in eight chapters and additional appendices:

  • Introduction
  • Decisions by the Department of Justice to Seek the Death Penalty: Their Implications for Defense Costs
  • Costs of Defending Federal Capital Cases
  • Findings
  • Explanations for and Predictors of Case Costs
  • Qualitative Data from Judges and Counsel
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations & Commentary
  • Appendix A: Data Examined
  • Appendix B: Supplemental Data
  • Appendix C: Authorized versus Non-authorized Case Costs
  • Appendix D: Cost Estimates in 2010 Dollars