2012 Life in the Balance

Oct 30, 2012 08:00am -
Nov 02, 2012 05:00pm

Event Description

Join us in St. Louis for the Life in the Balance conference to develop and improve the interviewing, investigation, litigation, mitigation, and advocacy skills and techniques needed to save lives in all phases of capital defense.

With more than 90 sessions over three and a half days, the 2012 Life in the Balance conference will provide an opportunity to learn from and work with the most successful and forward-thinking attorneys, mitigation specialists, investigators and experts from across the nation. The faculty will offer expert guidance and instruction on such topics as:

  • Mental health, including Atkins, the MMPI and competence to be executed
  • Taking death off the table through plea negotiations and effective advocacy for your client’s life
  • Race and culture and their implications for the defense team, the jury and the courts
  • Motion practice and preservation of error
  • Defense team dynamics
  • ABA standards, Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function
  • Ethics and constitutionally effective assistance
  • Capital Juries: How to pick them, talk to them and understand the way they work
  • Individual case consultations will also be offered.

Who Should Attend Life in the Balance?

Participants must be involved in the defense of persons accused in capital and serious felony cases and are typically defense attorneys, mitigation specialists and defense investigators. Participants come from a variety of practice settings and public defender offices: solo, small and large.

If You Are New to Capital Defense...

Life in the Balance will offer training in all basic skills, including: developing a relationship with your client and client’s family, locating and interviewing witnesses, gathering and organizing documents and evidence.

If You Are a Seasoned Capital Defense Team Member...

You can be assured of going home with new information and materials that will make a difference in your cases. Sessions will be presented on complex areas of death penalty representation, such as multiple defendant cases, cases crossing international boundaries and federal death penalty prosecutions. Life in the Balance will provide new insights and methods for well experienced practitioners.

Capital Appeals, Habeas Corpus, and Post-Conviction Practice

Since most capital cases do not end at the trial level, Life in the Balance will include sessions that cover the process from the moment a death verdict is returned through cert in the Supreme Court. Experienced practitioners and experts will help you navigate the complex terrain of capital appeals and habeas procedure and the painstaking methods of factual reinvestigation and presentation that post-conviction proceedings require.

Federal Capital Cases

Since federal practice is different, special sessions will be offered to address the nuances of capital defense in the federal courts. Need help with your case? Bring your case with you. Opportunities will be available for you to meet one-on-one with experienced lawyers, mitigation specialists and investigators.


Click here for the official Life in the Balance Conference Program Book (pdf format).  We will have a couple of minor changes so you will receive the hard copy of this program and an errata onsite.

Monday, October 29

1:00 – 5:30 pm Registration

Tuesday, October 30

7:00 – 5:00 pm Registration
7:30 – 9:00 am Continental Breakfast
9:00 - 10:30 am Plenary: Effectively Channeling Your Rage Against the Death Penalty Machine
Sean O’Brien

10:45 - 12:15 pm Sessions:
Rebutting Intent: Diminished Capacity vs. Mental State 
Alex Bassos
WORKSHOP: Interviewing Skills, Pt. 1 
Jim Tibensky

Making Objections and Preserving the Record 
Sean O’Brien
What Were They Thinking: Inside the Mind of the Judge in a Capital Case
Dr. Brook Butler
Interpreters and Other Language Access Issues 
David Baugh 
Using Mapping to Tell Your Client’s Story 
Amy Nguyen
Firearms & Ammunition Technology & Shooting Incident Scene Reconstruction
Watani Tyehimba, John Nixon
Developments in Eyewitness Identification
Karen Newirth 
Case Consultations 

12:15 - 2:00 pm Lunch on Your Own

2:00 - 3:30 pm Sessions:
DSM IV: Is It Accurate and How to Effectively Use It 
Alex Bassos 
WORKSHOP: Interviewing Skills, Pt. 2 
Jim Tibensky 
                                Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)
                                Cliff Gardner
Reading Medical Records 
Tara M. Godoy 
Using Psychological Concepts to Enahance Voir Dire
Dr. Brook Butler 
Litigating Prosecutor-ial Misconduct in Capital Cases 
Sean O’Brien, David Baugh 
The Client’s Family As a Resource
Claudia Whitman, Tonya McClary, James Green 
Firearms Identification and Toolmark Analysis in the Light of NAS 2009 
John Nixon
A New Tool for Litigators: Use of the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Assessment Reports
Melinda Pendergraph, Ryan C. Kent, Mark Pickett

Case Consultations 

3:45 - 5:15 pm Sessions:
Addressing Issues of Faith in Capital Defense Representation
Danalynn Recer
                                Appellate Advocacy in Capital Cases
                                Cliff Gardner
                                Blunt Force Trauma
Tara M. Godoy
Cross Examining Informants
David Baugh 
Strategic Use of the Media
Claudia Whitman, Tonya McClary, James Green 
Computer Forensics
Greg Chatten, Kevin McClain 
ETHICS - Ethical Implications of Legal Communication Monitoring 
James J. Connell 
Case Consultations

5:30 -7:30 Welcome Reception

Wednesday, October 31

7:00 - 5:00 pm Registration
7:30 - 9:00 am Continental Breakfast
9:00 - 10:30 am Plenary: Decisional Competency
Alex Bassos

10:45 - 12:15 pm Sessions:
Nearly Psychotic: Schizoptypal Personality Disorder in Capital Cases
Dr. Tom Reidy 
WORKSHOP: Persuasive Written Advocacy –Motions, Briefs, Memoranda, Pt. 1 
Danalynn Recer 
An Introduction to Persuasive Storytelling
Jim Tibensky
Race and Environmental Issues
Claudia Whitman, Tonya McClary, James Green

Classified Evidence in National Security Cases
James J. Connell 
ETHICS - The Most Critical Issues for Capital Defenders
Don Catlett
Cell Phone Forensics
Michael Cherry
Making Re-entry Work for Your Client
Eddie Ellis, Ed Burnette
Strategies for Effectively Defusing the Victim Impact Case
David Baugh

12:15 - 2:00 pm Lunch on Your Own

2:00 - 3:30 pm Sessions:
                                Neuro-psychology of Violent Aggression and Murder
Dr. Robert Hanlon

WORKSHOP: Persuasive Written Advocacy –Motions, Briefs, Memoranda, Pt. 2 
Danalynn Recer 
Common Mistakes Experts Make
Dr. Bruce Frumkin, Greg Mermelstein 

                             Getting Mental Health and Social Services Records 
Amy Skrien, Chris May 
Collecting and Preserving DNA Evidence in Homicide and Sexual Assault Cases
Watani Tyehimba, Gloria Carrey 
WORKSHOP: New Tools for A New World Part I - Case Analysis
Jim McComas 
Government Use of Geo-location and Stored Communication Data 
James J. Connell 
Protecting Your Client’s Interests When Communicating with Court Services 
Eddie Ellis, Charo Davis, Shawna Geiger
Raising Winning Challenges to the Venire
Patrick Berrigan
3:45 - 5:15 pm Sessions:

                                Neuropsychological Evaluations of Capital Murder Defendants
Dr. Robert Hanlon 

WORKSHOP: Storytelling
Shawna Geiger, Jim Tibensky 
Raising and Litigating Competency in Post Conviction Proceedings
Mark Olive, Wendy Peoples
Explosives Technology and Improvised Explosive Devices (Destructive Devices)
John Nixon
                            WORKSHOP: New Tools for A New World Part II - Dynamic Cross Examination
Jim McComas 
Internet Sleuthing
Kevin McClain, Jon Lyon 
Investigative Case Review and Analysis 
Gloria Carrey, Rashid McCall 
Jury Instructions: Preserving issues That Relate to Lesser Included Offenses 
Patrick Berrigan 

Thursday, November 1

7:00 - 5:00 pm Registration
7:30 - 9:00 am Continental Breakfast

9:00 - 10:30 am Sessions:
Intellectual Testing in Atkins Assessments: the Flynn Effect, Effort Testing and other Considerations
                                Dr. Tom Reidy
                                WORKSHOP: Dynamic Cross Examination, Pt. 1
Jim McComas
Representing Muslim Clients
Watani Tyehimba, Rashid McCall
Audio and Visual Forensics
Scott Koontz
Unveiling the Hidden Disability: The Prevalence of Language Impairments Among Our Clients and Why we should Care
                                Michele LaVigne
                                Using Adobe and PowerPoint in Mitigation and Pleas 
Shawna Geiger, John Gonglach 
Habeas Caselaw Review 
Mark Olive 

10:45 - 12:15 pm Sessions:
Understanding the Law and Science Behind Atkins, Pt. 1 
Juliet Yackel, Dr. Greg Olley
FORUM: What I Should Expect from My Expert 
Dr. Bruce Frumkin, Ed Burnette
WORKSHOP: Dynamic Cross Examination, Pt. 2 
Jim McComas
Developmental Factors and Violence in the Community 
Dr. Tom Reidy
Safety in the Field 
Watani Tyehimba, Gloria Carrey
Blood Spatter 
Todd Thone, Kevin McClain
WORKSHOP: Using Adobe and PowerPoint in Mitigation and Pleas 
John Gonglach, Shawna Geiger 
Litigating Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims 
Mark Olive 

12:15 - 2:00 pm Lunch on Your Own

2:00 - 3:30 pm Sessions:
Understanding the Law and Science Behind Atkins, Pt. 2 
Dr. Greg Olley, Juliet Yackel
Defense Experts: How to Get the Court to Give You the Help You Need When You Need It
                                Ed Ungvarsky
                                Technology Forum: What’s Out There and What You Need 
                                Betsy Wilson
Risk Assessment for Prison: Update of Important Recent Research 
Dr. Tom Reidy
Transitioning the Mitigation Function From Pre-Trial to Post-Trial 
Lori James-Townes 
ETHICS - Ethics for Investigators 
John Gonglach
Military Justice System 101 
Capt. Gerald Healy 
Certification, Waiver, and Transfer:  The Death Penalty of Juvenile Court 
Prof. Mae Quinn

U.S. Supreme Court Review 
Marshall Hartmann, Laurence Benner 

3:45 - 5:15 pm Plenary: Transcending Race, Class and Culture on Capital Defense Teams: Establishing Respectful Relationships With Our Clients and Each Other 
Watani Tyehimba, Ed Ungvarsky, Lori James Townes 

Friday, November 2

7:00 - noon Registration
7:30 - 9:00 am Continental Breakfast

9:00 - 10:30 am Sessions:

Getting the Keys to the Prison: Institutional Life Investigations 
Juliet Yackel
                                DNA: Mounting an Effective Challenge to the Prosecution's Case
                                Ed Ungvarsky
                                Strengthening the Defense Team Through Effective Collaboration and Communication 
Emily Hughes, Betsy Wilson
Miranda Wiavers: Why Clients Feel Compelled to Talk to the Police 
Capt. Gerald Healy, Dr. Bruce Frumkin
Establishing Trust Through Active Listening 
Lori James-Townes 

10:45 - 12:15 pm Sessions:

Medico-Legal Death Investigations 
Kevin McClain 
Mitigation and Resentencing in JLWOP Cases 
Betsy Wilson, Shawna Geiger 
ETHICS – Teamwork: Ethical Issues for a Multidisciplinary Team 
Emily Hughes
Psychological Components of False Confessions 
Capt. Gerald Healy, Dr. Bruce Frumkin 
Language, Culture and Representing Non-Citizen Clients 
Kari Converse 

Event Type:Conference
Category:Educational Seminar
Early registration ends on Aug 28, 2012.
Regular registration starts on Aug 29, 2012 and ends on Oct 15, 2012.
Late registration starts on Oct 16, 2012.
(GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)