The Capital Case Unit (CCU) was created in response to the Department of Justice's increased involvement in capital litigation. CCU’s mission is two-fold:
First, CCU is responsible for assisting the Attorney General's Review Committee on Capital Cases in its evaluation of potential death penalty matters. CCU conducts an analysis of all cases in which a United States Attorney charges a crime punishable by death. CCU advises the Committee in relation to the factual and legal issues relevant to the Committee's recommendation to the Attorney General regarding whether to seek the death penalty. CCU attorneys also provide legal, procedural, and policy guidance to United States Attorneys’ Offices handling capital investigations and prosecutions.
Additionally, CCU provides direct litigation support to USAOs handling capital cases. This support takes various forms depending upon the needs in a given case. CCU employs prosecutors who have previously tried capital cases and are available to serve as co-counsel with AUSAs in their pending capital prosecutions. CCU attorneys may also assist in a more limited fashion. CCU supports all phases of pre-trial litigation, provides guidance in selecting death qualified juries and helps construct penalty phase evidentiary presentations.
CCU also provides training and resource materials to federal prosecutors handling capital cases. CCU maintains trial and appellate materials related to federal capital prosecutions which are shared with USAOs across the United States.