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Delaware Docket Newsletter
Summer 2008


The adjudication of capital cases was the topic of a free seminar held on April 11th by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel on behalf of the Delaware Supreme Court. The full-day session was designed to promote the interests of justice by helping to ensure that the best possible defense is presented in these difficult cases and to avoid the substantial expense involved in re-trying capital cases after conviction and sentencing.

Using the phrase, “death is different” speakers emphasized the depth of the defense needed in death penalty cases and discussed critical aspects of an effective defense in such cases. Defense needs were reinforced by Robin M. Maher, Executive Director of the American Bar Association (ABA) Death Penalty Representation Project, who discussed the ABA Guidelines for Defense Counsel in Capital Cases. The importance of state post-conviction and federal habeas corpus considerations was also discussed by additional speakers, as were issues relating to funding and defense counsel case loads.

Members of the judiciary played an important role in the seminar with Superior Court Judge Jerome O. Herlihy providing an introduction and President Judge James T. Vaughn, Jr. and Superior Court Judges T. Henley Graves, Joseph R. Slights, III, and Jan R. Jurden, as well as District Court Judge Gregory M. Sleet, and Disciplinary Counsel Andrea L. Rocanelli, serving as panel moderators.

The program was videotaped and is available, free of charge, to anyone who would like to view the seminar by contacting the Office of Disciplinary Counsel at (302) 577-7042.