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Capital Guidelines and Ethical Duties: Mutually Reinforcing Responsibilities

30 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2008 Last revised: 3 Nov 2008

Lawrence J. Fox

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP


This article appears in the Hofstra Law Review symposium issue on the Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Death Penalty cases.

It is counsel, and not any non-lawyer member of the multidisciplinary defense team which needs to be assembled to provide competent representation in a capital case, who bears ultimate responsibility for the team's performance and for decisions affecting the client and the case. This article describes the many respects in which counsel's specific obligations under both the ABA's Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases reprinted in 31 Hofstra L. Rev. 913 (2003) and the Supplementary Guidelines that are the subject of this issue are either direct implementations of or logical corollaries to deeply-rooted provisions of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct that would bind counsel in any event. Correspondingly, the ABA Guidelines and Supplementary Guidelines illuminate the requirements of the Model Rules in the particular context of capital representation.

Suggested Citation

Fox, Lawrence J., Capital Guidelines and Ethical Duties: Mutually Reinforcing Responsibilities. Hofstra Law Review, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Lawrence Fox (Contact Author)

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP ( email )

One Logan Square
18th & Cherry Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19103
United States

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