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2021 California Rules of Court

Rule 4.562. Recruitment and determination of qualifications of attorneys for appointment in death penalty-related habeas corpus proceedings

(a) Purpose

This rule provides for a panel of attorneys from which superior courts may appoint counsel in death penalty-related habeas corpus proceedings.

(b) Regional habeas corpus panel committees

Each Court of Appeal must establish a death penalty-related habeas corpus panel committee as provided in this rule.

(c) Composition of regional habeas corpus panel committees

(1)  The administrative presiding justice of the Court of Appeal appoints the members of each committee. Each committee must be composed of:

(A)  One justice of the Court of Appeal to serve as the chair of the committee;

(B)  A total of three judges from among those nominated by the presiding judges of the superior courts located within the appellate district; and

(C)  A total of three attorneys from among those nominated by the entities in the six categories below. At least two of those appointed must have experience representing a petitioner in a death penalty-related habeas corpus proceeding.

(i)  An attorney nominated by the Habeas Corpus Resource Center;

(ii)  An attorney nominated by the California Appellate Project-San Francisco;

(iii)  An attorney nominated by the appellate project with which the Court of Appeal contracts;

(iv)  An attorney nominated by any of the federal public defenders' offices of the federal districts in which the participating courts are located;

(v)  An attorney nominated by any of the public defenders' offices in a county where the participating courts are located; and

(vi)  An attorney nominated by any entity not listed in this subparagraph, if the administrative presiding justice requests such a nomination.

(2)  Each committee may also include advisory members, as authorized by the administrative presiding justice.

(3)  The term of the chair and committee members is three years. Terms are staggered so that an approximately equal number of each committee's members changes annually. The administrative presiding justice has the discretion to remove or replace a chair or committee member for any reason.

(4)  Except as otherwise provided in this rule, each committee is authorized to establish the procedures under which it is governed.

(d) Regional habeas corpus panel committee responsibilities

The committee has the following responsibilities:

(1)  Support superior court efforts to recruit applicants

Each committee must assist the participating superior courts in their efforts to recruit attorneys to represent indigent petitioners in death penalty-related habeas corpus proceedings in the superior courts.

(2)  Accept applications

Each committee must accept applications from attorneys who seek to be included on the panel of attorneys qualified for appointment in death penalty-related habeas corpus proceedings in the superior courts.

(A)  The application must be on a Declaration of Counsel re Minimum Qualifications for Appointment in Death Penalty-Related Habeas Corpus Proceedings (form HC-100).

(B)  Except as provided in (C), each committee must accept applications from attorneys whose principal place of business is within the appellate district and from only those attorneys.

(C)  In addition to accepting applications from attorneys whose principal place of business is in its district, the First Appellate District committee must also accept applications from attorneys whose principal place of business is outside the state.

(3)  Review qualifications

Each committee must review the applications it receives and determine whether the applicant meets the minimum qualifications stated in this division to represent persons in death penalty-related habeas corpus proceedings in the superior courts.

(4)  Provide names of qualified counsel for statewide panel

(A)  If a committee determines by a majority vote that an attorney is qualified to represent persons in death penalty-related habeas corpus proceedings in the superior court, it must include the name of the attorney on a statewide panel of qualified attorneys.

(B)  Committees will provide to the Habeas Corpus Resource Center the names of attorneys who the committees determine meet the minimum qualifications. The Habeas Corpus Resource Center must consolidate the names into a single statewide panel, update the names on the panel at least quarterly, and make the most current panel available to superior courts on its website.

(C)  Unless removed from the panel under (d)(6), an attorney included on the panel may remain on the panel for up to six years without submitting a renewed application.

(D)  Inclusion on the statewide panel does not entitle an attorney to appointment by a superior court, nor does it compel an attorney to accept an appointment.

(5)  Match qualified attorneys to cases

Each committee must assist a participating superior court in matching one or more qualified attorneys from the statewide panel to a person for whom counsel must be appointed under Government Code section 68662, if the court requests such assistance.

(6)  Remove attorneys from panel

Suspension or disbarment of an attorney will result in removal of the attorney from the panel. Other disciplinary action, or a finding that counsel has provided ineffective assistance of counsel, may result in a reevaluation of the attorney's inclusion on the panel by the committee that initially determined the attorney to have met minimum qualifications.

(e) Consolidated habeas corpus panel committees

The administrative presiding justices of two or more Courts of Appeal may elect, following consultation with the presiding judges of the superior courts within their respective appellate districts, to operate a single committee to collectively fulfill the committee responsibilities for the superior courts in their appellate districts.

(f) Recruitment of qualified attorneys

The superior courts in which a judgment of death has been entered against an indigent person for whom habeas corpus counsel has not been appointed must develop and implement a plan to identify and recruit qualified counsel who may apply to be appointed.

(g) Local rule

A superior court may, by adopting a local rule, authorize appointment of qualified attorneys who are not members of the statewide panel. The local rule must establish procedures for submission and review of a Declaration of Counsel re Minimum Qualifications for Appointment in Death Penalty-Related Habeas Corpus Proceedings (form HC-100) and require attorneys to meet the minimum qualifications under rule 8.652(c).

Rule 4.562 adopted effective April 25, 2019.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivisions (d) and (f). In addition to the responsibilities identified in subdivisions (d) and (f), courts and regional committees are encouraged to support activities to expand the pool of attorneys that are qualified to represent petitioners in death penalty-related habeas corpus proceedings. Examples of such activities include providing mentoring and training programs and encouraging the use of supervised counsel.

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