2009 California Government Code - Section 68660-68666 :: Chapter 2.3. California Habeas Corpus Resource Center

SECTION 68660-68666

68660.  As used in this chapter, "center" means the California
Habeas Corpus Resource Center, and "board" means the board of
directors of the center.

68661.  There is hereby created in the judicial branch of state
government the California Habeas Corpus Resource Center, which shall
have all of the following general powers and duties:
   (a) To employ up to 34 attorneys who may be appointed by the
Supreme Court to represent any person convicted and sentenced to
death in this state who is without counsel, and who is determined by
a court of competent jurisdiction to be indigent, for the purpose of
instituting and prosecuting postconviction actions in the state and
federal courts, challenging the legality of the judgment or sentence
imposed against that person, and preparing petitions for executive
clemency. An appointment may be concurrent with the appointment of
the State Public Defender or other counsel for purposes of direct
appeal under Section 11 of Article VI of the California Constitution.
   (b) To seek reimbursement for representation and expenses pursuant
to Section 3006A of Title 18 of the United States Code when
providing representation to indigent persons in the federal courts
and process those payments via the Federal Trust Fund.
   (c) To work with the Supreme Court in recruiting members of the
private bar to accept death penalty habeas corpus case appointments.
   (d) To establish and periodically update a roster of attorneys
qualified as counsel in postconviction proceedings in capital cases.
   (e) To establish and periodically update a roster of experienced
investigators and experts who are qualified to assist counsel in
postconviction proceedings in capital cases.
   (f) To employ investigators and experts as staff to provide
services to appointed counsel upon request of counsel, provided that
when the provision of those services is to private counsel under
appointment by the Supreme Court, those services shall be pursuant to
contract between appointed counsel and the center.
   (g) To provide legal or other advice or, to the extent not
otherwise available, any other assistance to appointed counsel in
postconviction proceedings as is appropriate when not prohibited by
   (h) To develop a brief bank of pleadings and related materials on
significant, recurring issues that arise in postconviction
proceedings in capital cases and to make those briefs available to
appointed counsel.
   (i) To evaluate cases and recommend assignment by the court of
appropriate attorneys.
   (j) To provide assistance and case progress monitoring as needed.
   (k) To timely review case billings and recommend compensation of
members of the private bar to the court.
   (l) The center shall report annually to the Legislature, the
Governor, and the Supreme Court on the status of the appointment of
counsel for indigent persons in postconviction capital cases, and on
the operations of the center. On or before January 1, 2000, the
Legislative Analyst's Office shall evaluate the available reports.

68662.  The Supreme Court shall offer to appoint counsel to
represent all state prisoners subject to a capital sentence for
purposes of state postconviction proceedings, and shall enter an
order containing one of the following:
   (a) The appointment of one or more counsel to represent the
prisoner in postconviction state proceedings upon a finding that the
person is indigent and has accepted the offer to appoint counsel or
is unable to competently decide whether to accept or reject that
   (b) A finding, after a hearing if necessary, that the prisoner
rejected the offer to appoint counsel and made that decision with
full understanding of the legal consequences of the decision.
   (c) The denial to appoint counsel upon a finding that the person
is not indigent.

68663.  No counsel appointed to represent a state prisoner under
capital sentence in state postconviction proceedings shall have
previously represented the prisoner at trial or on direct appeal in
the case for which the appointment is made, unless the prisoner and
counsel expressly requests continued representation.

68664.  (a) The center shall be managed by an executive director who
shall be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the center.
   (b) The executive director shall be chosen by a five-member board
of directors and confirmed by the Senate. Each Appellate Project
shall appoint one board member, all of whom shall be attorneys.
However, no attorney who is employed as a judge, prosecutor, or in a
law enforcement capacity shall be eligible to serve on the board. The
executive director shall serve at the will of the board.
   (c) Each member of the board shall be appointed to serve a
four-year term, and vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as
the original appointment. Members of the board shall receive no
compensation, but shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and
necessary expenses incidental to their duties. The first members of
the board shall be appointed no later than February 1, 1998.
   (d) The executive director shall meet the appointment
qualifications of the State Public Defender as specified in Section
   (e) The executive director shall receive the salary that shall be
specified for the executive director in Chapter 6 (commencing with
Section 11550) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2.

68665.  The Judicial Council and the Supreme Court shall adopt, by
rule of court, binding and mandatory competency standards for the
appointment of counsel in death penalty direct appeals and habeas
corpus proceedings.

68666.  (a) The Supreme Court may compensate counsel representing
indigent defendants in automatic appeals arising out of a judgment of
death or for state postconviction proceedings in those cases, at a
rate of at least one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125) per allowable
hour, as defined by the court's Payment Guidelines for Appointed
Counsel Representing Indigent Criminal Appellants. However, nothing
in this section is intended to prohibit the hiring of counsel under a
flat-fee arrangement.
   (b) The Supreme Court may set a guideline limitation on
investigative and other expenses allowable for counsel to adequately
investigate and present collateral claims of up to fifty thousand
dollars ($50,000) without an order to show cause.
   (c) It is the intent of the Legislature that payments to appointed
counsel be made within 60 days of submission of a billing.

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