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 pursuant to Section 68662 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 habeas corpus petitions in the state and federal courts, challenging the legality of the judgment or sentence imposed against that person, subject to the limitations in Section 68661.1, and preparing petitions for executive clemency. Any such 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 courts in recruiting members of the private bar to accept death penalty habeas corpus case appointments.
(d) To recommend attorneys to the Supreme Court for inclusion in a roster of attorneys qualified as counsel in habeas corpus proceedings in capital cases, provided that the final determination of whether to include an attorney in the roster shall be made by the Supreme Court and not delegated to the center.
(e) To establish and periodically update a roster of experienced investigators and experts who are qualified to assist counsel in habeas corpus 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, those services shall be pursuant to contract between appointed counsel and the center.
(g) To provide legal or other advice to appointed counsel in habeas corpus proceedings as is appropriate when not prohibited by law.
(h) To develop a brief bank of pleadings and related materials on significant, recurring issues that arise in habeas corpus 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 people, the Legislature, the Governor, and the Supreme Court on the status of the appointment of counsel for indigent persons in habeas corpus capital cases, and on the operations of the center. The report shall list all cases in which the center is providing representation. For each case that has been pending more than one year in any court, the report shall state the reason for the delay and the actions the center is taking to bring the case to completion.
(Amended November 8, 2016, by initiative Proposition 66, Sec. 14.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018