Attorneys at TDS represent a limited number of prisoners on Texas’ death row in their post-conviction proceedings, primarily in federal court, and strive to serve as a benchmark for quality of representation of death-sentenced inmates. TDS seeks to litigate cases that have a broad impact on the administration of capital punishment in Texas.
Capital Trial Project
The Capital Trial Project provides resources and assistance to capital trial lawyers with particular emphasis on the early stages of capital litigation and the crucial role of thorough investigation and preparation.
Policy Reform Advocacy
TDS engages in policy reform, which includes issue advocacy, research and writing, and communications. TDS works with state legislators, the Texas Indigent Defense Commission and other government agencies and individuals to improve access to high quality representation for indigent capital defendants and strengthen due process protections throughout the criminal justice system. TDS’ research exposes systematic problems with Texas’ capital punishment system that need to be addressed.
Training and Education
Texas Defender Service trainings and seminars are offered in various locations throughout the year, and address topics such as:
- United States Supreme Court Developments
- Federal & State Jurisprudence
- Investigating & Presenting Mitigation Evidence
- Jury Selection
- Implementing Best Practices: The American Bar Association & Texas Capital Guidelines for Death Penalty Defense
- Necessary Defense Tools: Securing Investigators & Experts
- Mental Health Issues