(a) In any case in which a death sentence has been imposed, the record on appeal shall be expeditiously certified in two stages, the first for completeness and the second for accuracy, as provided by this section. The trial court may use all reasonable means to ensure compliance with all applicable statutes and rules of court pertaining to record certification in capital appeals, including, but not limited to, the imposition of sanctions.
(b) Within 30 days of the imposition of the death sentence, the clerk of the superior court shall provide to trial counsel copies of the clerk’s transcript and shall deliver the transcript as provided by the court reporter. Trial counsel shall promptly notify the court if he or she has not received the transcript within 30 days.
(c) During the course of a trial in which the death penalty is being sought, trial counsel shall alert the court’s attention to any errors in the transcripts incidentally discovered by counsel while reviewing them in the ordinary course of trial preparation. The court shall periodically request that trial counsel provide a list of errors in the trial transcript during the course of trial and may hold hearings in connection therewith.
Corrections to the record shall not be required to include immaterial typographical errors that cannot conceivably cause confusion.
(d) The trial court shall certify the record for completeness and for incorporation of all corrections, as provided by subdivision (c), no later than 90 days after entry of the imposition of the death sentence unless good cause is shown. However, this time period may be extended for proceedings in which the trial transcript exceeds 10,000 pages in accordance with the timetable set forth in, or for good cause pursuant to the procedures set forth in, the rules of court adopted by the Judicial Council.
(e) Following the imposition of the death sentence and prior to the deadline set forth in subdivision (d), the trial court shall hold one or more hearings for trial counsel to address the completeness of the record and any outstanding errors that have come to their attention and to certify that they have reviewed all docket sheets to ensure that the record contains transcripts for any proceedings, hearings, or discussions that are required to be reported and that have occurred in the course of the case in any court, as well as all documents required by this code and the rules adopted by the Judicial Council.
(f) The clerk of the trial court shall deliver a copy of the record on appeal to appellate counsel when the clerk receives notice of counsel’s appointment or retention, or when the record is certified for completeness under subdivision (d), whichever is later.
(g) The trial court shall certify the record for accuracy no later than 120 days after the record has been delivered to appellate counsel. However, this time may be extended pursuant to the timetable and procedures set forth in the rules of court adopted by the Judicial Council. The trial court may hold one or more status conferences for purposes of timely certification of the record for accuracy, as set forth in the rules of court adopted by the Judicial Council.
(h) The Supreme Court shall identify in writing to the Judicial Council any case that has not met the time limit for certification of the record for completeness under subdivision (d) or for accuracy under subdivision (g), and shall identify those cases, and its reasons, for which it has granted an extension of time. The Judicial Council shall include this information in its annual report to the Legislature.
(i) As used in this section, “trial counsel” means both the prosecution and the defense counsel in the trial in which the sentence of death has been imposed.
(j) This section shall be implemented pursuant to rules of court adopted by the Judicial Council.
(k) This section shall only apply to those proceedings in which a sentence of death has been imposed following a trial that was commenced on or after January 1, 1997.
(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1086, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1997.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018