(a) The Legislature finds that the sentence in all capital cases should be imposed expeditiously.
(b) Therefore, in all cases in which a sentence of death has been imposed on or after January 1, 1997, the opening appellate brief in the appeal to the State Supreme Court shall be filed no later than seven months after the certification of the record for completeness under subdivision (d) of Section 190.8 or receipt by the appellant’s counsel of the completed record, whichever is later, except for good cause. However, in those cases where the trial transcript exceeds 10,000 pages, the briefing shall be completed within the time limits and pursuant to the procedures set by the rules of court adopted by the Judicial Council.
(c) In all cases in which a sentence of death has been imposed on or after January 1, 1997, it is the Legislature’s goal that the appeal be decided and an opinion reaching the merits be filed within 210 days of the completion of the briefing. However, where the appeal and a petition for writ of habeas corpus is heard at the same time, the petition should be decided and an opinion reaching the merits should be filed within 210 days of the completion of the briefing for the petition.
(d) The right of victims of crime to a prompt and final conclusion, as provided in paragraph (9) of subdivision (b) of Section 28 of Article I of the California Constitution, includes the right to have judgments of death carried out within a reasonable time. Within 18 months of the effective date of this initiative, the Judicial Council shall adopt initial rules and standards of administration designed to expedite the processing of capital appeals and state habeas corpus review. Within five years of the adoption of the initial rules or the entry of judgment, whichever is later, the state courts shall complete the state appeal and the initial state habeas corpus review in capital cases. The Judicial Council shall continuously monitor the timeliness of review of capital cases and shall amend the rules and standards as necessary to complete the state appeal and initial state habeas corpus proceedings within the five-year period provided in this subdivision.
(e) The failure of the parties or of a court to comply with the time limit in subdivision (b) shall not affect the validity of the judgment or require dismissal of an appeal or habeas corpus petition. If a court fails to comply without extraordinary and compelling reasons justifying the delay, either party or any victim of the offense may seek relief by petition for writ of mandate. The court in which the petition is filed shall act on it within 60 days of filing. Paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 28 of Article I of the California Constitution, regarding standing to enforce victims’ rights, applies to this subdivision and subdivision (d).
(Amended November 8, 2016, by initiative Proposition 66, Sec. 3.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018