News and Updates – Archives

New Search Features!


We’re happy to announce the launch of two important new search features!

  • Preview Text / Highlighting: Searches that include keywords will now show a preview of the text in the search results with your keywords highlighted. Remember to put your search terms in quotes if you are looking for a specific phrase.
  • Sorted Results: Previously search results were sorted showing the newest standards or conference materials first.  Now you can choose to sort your results in one of four ways:
    • Newest to oldest (default)
    • Oldest to newest
    • By conference name (sorted A-Z)
    • By keyword relevance (available only when keyword field is used in the search)

If you choose to sort your search results by relevance, it may take a little extra time for the search to complete, so please be patient. You can reduce the search time by limiting your search to a particular geographic location (other than “National”) or by filling in additional fields in the search form such as Date and Conference.

For any questions or problems with the new search features, please contact us at

Site maintenance

The capstandards database will be offline on Friday, September 12 for about 30 minutes for necessary upgrades to our web platform. If you have trouble accessing summaries or files on the 12th, please try back in a little while. We will try to complete all updates as quickly as possible and post here when they are complete. Thank you for your understanding and patience!

Update 9/12/14 3:15 p.m. EDT: All maintenance is now complete. If you experience any site issues, please contact us at

Summaries updated

Green Check Mark

After conducting an extensive search for missing cases, the Project has added approximately 80 new caselaw summaries to our database of opinions citing the Guidelines.  These opinions date back as far as 1991 and bring the database current through the end of 2013. As always, you can find our “List of Cases Citing the Guidelines” and “Summaries of Cases Citing the Guidelines” documents containing all citations/summaries in a single-document format on the Project’s webpage dedicated to the ABA Guidelines.

New in 2014!

The Death Penalty Representation Project is happy to announce an upcoming enhancement to our “Caselaw Summaries” collection.  The updated collection will include virtually all reported opinions that cite to the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases, including those opinions where the courts have used “creative” terminology or numbering that might escape a standard Westlaw or Lexis search.  As always, you will be able to search the summaries by jurisdiction, court system, guideline set, and/or guideline number, along with our full-text keyword search.  Check back soon for updates about the launch of the expanded collection!

Technical issue with Standards files

We are aware that there is currently a problem opening the standards documents on the site. You can still search, but you will not be able to view the document itself. We are working hard to resolve this issue and will post an update as soon as we have more information. In the meantime, if you locate a document using the search that you urgently need to access, contact Emily Williams at or 202-662-1735 and we can send you the original file. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused!

UPDATE: Our fantastic site developer, Four Lights Web Development, has found a solution that will allow users to access documents while the server error that caused the issue is being investigated by the hosting company. All files should now open as expected. If you have any additional problems, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Registration Reminder: Email Addresses


A number of users have recently registered using bulk/free mail accounts such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo. A friendly reminder that applications with these types of email addresses take much longer to process as we attempt to verify your information. This verification process is required to maintain the security of the site. If at all possible, please use your organization’s email (e.g. so we know that we are sending your username and password to the right person! We promise never to sell or share any personal information, including email addresses, and the only messages you will ever receive from this site will be related to site access (initial registration confirmation, password reminders that you request, etc.). If you have any questions or are waiting to receive a response to a recently-submitted application, please contact us at Thank you for helping us keep this site secure!

Caselaw Summaries updated

Approximately 40 new summaries of opinions citing to the ABA Guidelines have been added to the database. These include several older opinions that were previously inadvertently excluded from the collection, as well as opinions issued in recent months. The summaries are now current as of July 24, 2013.

As a reminder, these cases have not been Key Cited/Shepardized. It is the responsibility of the user to make an independent determination if the court’s decision has been overruled or affected by later precedent!

New feature – Conference Material List

Registered users can now view a list of the training conferences from which materials are available in the database. The list is organized by conference sponsor, conference name, and year. If you have materials from a conference not included on the list and would like to donate them, please send an email to  New materials are added regularly, so please check back often!

More California Materials Added

A second large group of California conference materials are now available!  The latest materials come from conferences held in 1988, 1989, 1994-1996, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. To locate these materials, visit the Search Standards page, select Geographical Focus: California and Category: Training Conference Materials. You can further narrow your search using the additional fields in the search form. Our continued thanks to our colleagues for the donation of this extensive collection of California resources!

Georgia Materials Added


Materials from several Georgia-focused training conferences are now available in the database. To view these documents, go to the Search Standards page, select Geographical Focus: Georgia. You can further narrow your search using the additional fields in the search form. Thank you to our colleagues who donated their Georgia materials for inclusion in the database!

California Conference Materials Added

A large volume of California training conference materials from 1987 – 2011 are now available in the database!  To locate these materials, visit the Search Standards page, select Geographical Focus: California and Category: Training Conference Materials. You can further narrow your search using the additional fields in the search form. Thank you to our colleagues who donated their California materials for inclusion in the database!

Initial Application Review Complete

We have completed our initial review of all applications to access the secured materials. If you submitted our registration form prior to April 26, 2013 and have not received an email approving or denying your application, please send an email to

New users are always welcome, and their applications will be reviewed by a member of our staff as quickly as possible!

Official Launch of the NCSD!

We are thrilled to announce the official launch of the NCSD! We already have a large number of applications that we are reviewing as quickly as possible. To expedite the processing of your application, please keep in mind the following:

  1. Use your “official” work email if at all possible.  Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail/etc. address are acceptable if there is no alternative, but your information may take longer to verify and the processing of your application may be delayed.
  2. You will enter your bar number each time you log in to the site exactly as you submit it on the registration form, so do not submit multiple numbers or include the state abbreviation with the number unless you want to enter that information every time you log in.  A single bar number is sufficient, even if you are registered in multiple states, as long as it is a current registration.
  3. Please list the names of at least a few capital cases that you are currently working on in the “current cases” field. We realize that many defenders have large caseloads and it is impractical to list them all, but one or two cases is much more helpful than just providing the number of active cases.
  4. For security reasons, access to the site is limited to currently practicing capital defenders and attorneys representing capital clients in post-conviction and on appeal. This means that non-attorneys cannot access the materials at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience and will make an announcement here if the policy changes in the future. Thank you for your understanding!
  5. If you have any questions or problems with the application, please send an email to

Thank you to all who have applied for your interest!  Our goal is to make this resource as useful as possible and look forward to hearing any comments or suggestions about how we can improve!

Pre-Registration Available Now

We are planning to officially launch the site in the coming week. If you would like to register now, please use the button in the upper right hand corner of this page. We will review all applications as soon as possible after the site is fully up and running! You will receive an email notification when your account is approved, and you will then be able to access the secured portions of the site. Please contact us with any questions!