This groundbreaking project was the first of its kind in the United States. It trains, consults, and provides trial teams with litigation support. Over the past ten years, it has been remarkably successful in reducing death sentences in a state that is a voracious user of capital punishment. Prior to the program’s launch, Texas had the fastest growing death row in the country and its juries sentenced dozens of people to death each year. By contrast, Texas courts sentenced just seven people to death in 2018, four people in 2019, and there have been only two death sentences to date in 2020.
Texas grand juries issue hundreds of capital murder indictments, and 400 Texas criminal defendants face the possibility of a death sentence at anytime. Many of these defendants are represented by solo practitioners who operate without institutional resources that are available to prosecutors such as appellate assistance, paralegals, and support staff. The trial project addresses this resource disparity between the prosecution and the defense by providing defense teams with training and consulting assistance.