Event Calendar

Sunday, June 26, 2022

BOTH Clarence Darrow/ David Baldus Death Penalty College & Intellectual Disability Preconference

Start Date: 6/26/2022 8:30 AM EDT
End Date: 7/1/2022 3:00 PM EDT

Venue Name: The University of Iowa College of Law

130 Byington Rd
Iowa City, IA  United States  52242

Organization Name: National Association for Public Defense

Jeni Benavides
Email: events@publicdefenders.us
Phone: (502) 219-6149

Combined Intellectual Disability: The Essentials and The Clarence Darrow/David Baldus Death Penalty College (June 26-July 1)

ABOUT: The Clarence Darrow/David Baldus Death Penalty College (June 28-July 1) is an annual training program for capital defense attorneys, mitigation specialists, and capital investigators held in downtown Iowa City at the University of Iowa College of Law, located in the heart of the campus.

Participants spend the week working on their own pending cases as well as learning from some of the most prestigious capital defense trainers in the country. Each day, participants engage in various learning activities, including small group sessions, lectures, role playing, and strategy demonstrations for guilt/innocence and penalty phases.


Small group sessions are designed to provide constructive feedback and encouragement while also brainstorming the case and doing actual case preparation for the capital trial. These sessions are followed by lectures and demonstrations for smaller groups or plenary sessions for all participants. Evenings are primarily unscheduled, allowing participants to explore all that Iowa City has to offer.


The program is held in honor of the late Professor David Baldus, whose thorough, groundbreaking capital punishment research significantly impacted the death penalty defense community and legal community as a whole. Professor Baldus is best known for “the Baldus study,” cited by the United States Supreme Court in McCleskey v. Kemp, although his research extends far beyond.


ABOUT: Intellectual Disability: The Essentials, Intensive 2-Day Training Preconference to the Clarence Darrow/David Baldus Death Penalty College (June 26, 27)  - Mandatory online pre-preconference Zoom on June 21 2-4 pm ET


Bring your own case and experiential, hands-on learning to enhance understanding.
This format - working through our cases at the conference, with the experts - allows for greater mastery of the material.

Intellectual disability is an absolute bar to the death penalty, making this a necessary area of investigation in every capital case. There are no exceptions.

If you are new to capital work, this course is essential.  Intellectual disability is complex, subtle, difficult to detect and even harder to litigate.

This intensive training introduces participants to the nuances of investigating and litigating intellectual disability claims and features strategies for overcoming common barriers to identifying and effectively presenting evidence of ID.

It is our mission to ensure that no one with intellectual disability is ever executed. We are dedicated to equipping all members of the defense team with the tools needed to discover, investigate, and effectively litigate intellectual disability.

Intellectual disability can be difficult to detect.  Often, clients go to great lengths to hide their disability due to shame and embarrassment, even when it can save their life. Unlike common stereotypes, those with intellectual disability cannot be identified based on their appearance or superficial interactions. Clients may appear “normal” in the context of school, work, family or when we first encounter them as the defendant in a capital prosecution. Education is crucial to overcome these stereotypes.

Investigations face multiple barriers. School records are missing, IQ scores are unavailable or - in some cases - there are multiple IQ scores with widely variable scores. We’ll discuss how to overcome these challenges.

This training will offer the most up-to-date legal and scientific information concerning ID and provide hands-on opportunities to practice skills needed to screen effectively for ID. Students will learn how to work with mental-health experts and how to develop and provide the detailed life-history information needed for an effective evaluation. Instructors will include psychologists, lawyers, and mitigation specialists who are experts on the subject.

The live, in-person course will include small groups where you can work on a pending Atkins case. With the help of seasoned experts, you will become familiar with and develop a plan for implementing best practices articulated by the AAIDD in your cases. You will develop comprehensive investigation plans, prepare work product, and be introduced to a wide variety of tools and resources needed to effectively investigate and litigate Atkins claims.

We understand that lawyers and mitigation specialists are approaching this issue from slightly different angles. The mitigation specialist must master the art of uncovering evidence of ID, and counsel must learn how to orchestrate the evaluation and presentation of ID. These are related but different skills. Ideally, all team members will understand each other’s roles to maximize productivity and communication, which ultimately translates into successful outcomes for the clients.

See the Schedule

Confirmed Speakers Include
Andrea Lyon
Lori James-Townes
Emily Hughes
Cyndy Short
Amy Nguyen
Jennifer Friedman
Brian Hewlett
Bob Hill
Skip Gant
Tom Griffiths
Dr. Marc Tasse
Dr. Jim Patton
Dr. Daniel Reschly
Juliet Yackel
Dani Mickenberg
Hans Selvog
Jeff Sherr

Comments from participants in previous trainings

"I had the pleasure of taking the NAPD course "Intellectual Disability: Uncovering, Evaluating, and Changing Outcomes." This was truly one of the most engaging and inspiring trainings I have attended in recent years. The experts who lectured presented a wealth of information in a manner that was easily accessible to those with little experience, but at a high enough level for those who have experience litigating intellectual disability cases. The facilitators were extremely knowledgeable in helping guide the participants through the difficult and thorny issues in their cases. The online format with lectures, reading materials, videos and discussion sessions lent itself to an exceptional educational experience.  I would recommend this course to lawyers and investigators who are new to the investigation of intellectual disabilities, as well as to those who have substantial experience.  - Jennifer Friedman, LA Federal Public Defender

“I found the ID training valuable.  Both parts of the course – the lectures and the small group sessions – worked in tandem, as complimentary elements.  The small group sessions will be particularly helpful for those who have active cases.  The small groups offer a unique advantage because participants can collaborate to solve potential problems that advocates face as they develop a strong ID case.  I would encourage those who can to participate in the small group sessions.  They add a different element to the course than just the large group lectures alone.”
Allen Bohnert
Assistant Federal Public Defender
Capital Habeas Unit, Southern District of Ohio

“The small group is helpful in applying course materials to specific pieces of your client’s case.  Each session you are able to brainstorm and clarify how to use information learned and apply it to your unique case.  If you have upcoming interviews with specific ID questions you are able to role-play the interview questions to ensure the best interview.”
Jessica Carrier
Capital Mitigation Specialist
Madison, Wisconsin


Pricing includes lunch each day


Early Bird pricing  before  May 1

Members - $900

Non Members - $1000


After  May  1

Members - $950

Non Members - $1050


We have a limited number of scholarships available. Click here to apply by March 5.


There is a $100 discount for every registration from an organization after the first 3.


We have a room block at $96 (plus taxes and fees) including breakfast at the Hyatt Place Iowa City Downtown


NAPD Cancellation Policy


NAPD doesn't apply for CLE or track attendance to provide certifications for our live webinars, conferences and online courses. This helps us keep the price as low as possible and avoids the disruption of the flow of the training required by many states to verify attendance.


We are able to provide CLE for dozens of recorded sessions from previous training for NAPD members in most states.   These sessions are only $10 per credit hour.   For more details, log in with your NAPD credentials at this link.     

By registering for this training, I am affirming that today I am neither a prosecutor, nor attending this training  with the purpose of aiding the prosecution of any criminally accused.   I further affirm that I  am dedicated to the ideals of the criminal defense practitioner, and am committed to the causes of effective and zealous defense of those charged with crimes, the protection and assertion of constitutional rights afforded the criminally accused, and the recognition and preservation of human dignity of those charged with crimes.  I further affirm that my use of the information provided by this training  will not be used by me in any manner which would impugn the above set out ideals.


Online Registration

Registration is Closed
Closed: 6/1/2022 11:45 PM

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