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Help / Using the Database

Standards

The representation standards in this database are divided into four primary categories:

Standard Type Description Example
National Guidelines Guidelines for capital defense representation with broad national application/focus. 2003 ABA Guidelines
State Guidelines Guidelines for capital defense representation with regional or state- based application/focus. Nevada Capital Case Representation Standards of Performance
Conference Materials Materials distributed at defender training conferences, including session materials, agendas, and faculty and participant lists. Recommended Jury Selection Procedures from the 2000 Airlie Conference
Training Manuals Written guides to capital representation. 1988 ABA Manual For Attorneys Representing Death-Sentenced Prisoners
Capital Defense Articles Journal and news articles about capital representation. Enhancing Capital Defense: The Role of the Clinical Social Worker (1986)

To search the Standards, go to the Standards menu at the top of the page and click on Search Standards.  You can also view a list of files in each category by selecting Browse by Category from the Standards menu and selecting the Standard Type you wish to view.

Search Field Instructions/Description
Content Keywords Enter words found in the full text of document, document title, conference name, author, and/or document source.
Title Enter part or all of the title of a standard.
Author Enter the author of the standard. You can use partial and/or full names.  Keep in mind that the author may be a person or an organization.
Conference Name Enter the name of the conference you wish to search for.  Only use this field when you are searching for conference materials.
Start Year You can restrict your search to materials from a certain year or range of years.  Use the start year field to enter the earliest year that you wish to search. Remember that for conference materials, this is the year of the conference, not necessarily the document’s publication.
End Year You can restrict your search to materials from a certain year or range of years.  Use the end year field to enter the latest year that you wish to search. Remember that for conference materials, this is the year of the conference, not necessarily the document’s publication.
Geographical Focus This field is for conference materials only. Use the dropdown menu to select the geographical focus of the conference where the materials originated. May be national or related to a specific state or states.  Only the geographical focuses for which there are materials in the database are listed here.  If your state is not listed, then we do not have materials specifically relating to that state at this time.
Conference Location This field is for conference materials only. Enter the city and/or state where conference was held.
Category Select the type of standard you wish to find (see table above for descriptions). Leave blank to search all types.

Tips and Tricks for Searching:

  • If no results match your search, try completing fewer fields in the search form (e.g. do not limit your search by date or category).
  • To search for a phrase in a document, enclose your search in quotes.
  • For scanned documents, the full text search relies on a text file generated by Adobe Acrobat’s text recognition utility. This text may have spelling errors or miscellaneous characters, particularly with poor-quality scans. Try searching by the name of the document or browsing by conference if your search does not produce expected results.
  • Start Year and End Year may be used independently or together. Using a start year with no end year will return results from the start year onward. Using an end year with no start year will return all results up to and including the end year, but nothing beyond that. Using both will return results within the range of years.

Caselaw Summaries

The summaries of opinions citing to the Guidelines are grouped by Guideline Set. There are three Guideline Sets in this database: 1989 ABA Guidelines, 2003 ABA Guidelines, and the 2008 Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams. Within each Set, each summary is associated with one or more Guideline Numbers (1.1, 2.1, etc.). These are the specific guidelines that the opinion cites to or discusses. An opinion may be associated with multiple Guideline Sets and multiple Guideline Numbers within each set. A case may also be marked as having “General” discussion of a Guideline Set, without referring to any particular Guideline Number.

To search for a particular summary, select the Search Summaries option from the Caselaw Summaries menu at the top of the page. You can also browse the summaries by Guideline Set by selecting the Browse by Guideline option from the Caselaw Summaries menu and choosing the Guideline Set you wish to view.

Search Field Instructions/Description
Content Keywords Enter word(s) found in the full text of the summary.
Start Year This field helps you search for summaries of cases published in a certain timeframe.  Use the start year field to enter the earliest year you wish to search.
End Year This field helps you search for summaries of cases published in a certain timeframe.  Use the start year field to enter the latest year you wish to search.
State Use the dropdown menu to select the state where the case originated. Do not use for military cases.
Guideline You can restrict your search to a specific guideline or set of guidelines.  Select the guidline set or guideline number that you wish to search from the dropdown menu. Only the guidelines for which there are summaries in the database are listed here.  If a guideline is not listed, then we do not have any cases citing to that guideline at this time.
Court Use this filed to limit your search results to summaries of opinions from a specific court (e.g. U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit; Georgia Supreme Court) or court system (Federal, State, or Military).  Select the court you wish to find from the dropdown menu.  Only the courts for which there are summaries in the database are listed here.  If a court is not listed, then we do not have any cases from that court at this time.

Tips and Tricks for Searching and Using the Summaries:

  • Although you may only search one Guideline Number or Guideline Set at a time, clicking on a result will show you all Guideline Sets/Numbers to which the opinion cites.
  • Citations are in Bluebook format and are given to the Bluebook preferred reporter where possible. Westlaw and Lexis citations should be checked before use to determine if an updated citation is available.
  • Cases have not been Key Cited/Shepardized. It is the responsibility of the user to make an independent determination if the case has been overruled or affected by later precedent.
  • Every effort has been made to include all opinions citing to the ABA Guidelines and the Supplementary Guidelines. If you are aware of a case older than six months that is missing from this database, please contact the Project and we will include it with our next update.
  • Can’t remember which Guideline Number you need? Use our reference chart, or view the 1989, 2003, and Supplementary Guidelines.
  • Want to print or create a pdf of a case summary for your own records?  Just open the summary and click on the print button in the upper right corner just below the menu bar.  This will bring up a window where you can choose to print, create a pdf, and even edit the summary by deleting portions that you don’t need or increasing the font size.  You can also print directly from your browser, but the formatting may not be ideal (e.g. the font may be too small).

Accessibility

If the font on any of our content pages is too small (or too large), you can adjust the size by using the buttons located in the lower right-hand corner of each page. Click the left button to increase the font size and the right button to decrease it. You can also adjust the font size when you print by using the print button located in the top right corner on most content pages.

 

For additional help using the database, contact the site manager at support@capstandards.org.