Section 27.710, Florida Statutes 2001
27.710 Registry of attorneys applying to represent persons in postconviction capital collateral proceedings; certification of minimum requirements; appointment by trial court.--
(1) The executive director of the Commission on Capital Cases shall compile and maintain a statewide registry of attorneys in private practice who have certified that they meet the minimum requirements of s. 27.704(2) and who are available for appointment by the court under this section to represent persons convicted and sentenced to death in this state in postconviction capital collateral proceedings. To ensure that sufficient attorneys are available for appointment by the court, when the number of attorneys on the registry falls below 50, the executive director shall notify the chief judge of each circuit by letter and request the chief judge to promptly submit the names of at least three private attorneys who regularly practice criminal law in that circuit and who appear to meet the minimum requirements to represent persons in postconviction capital collateral proceedings. The executive director shall send an application to each attorney identified by the chief judge so that the attorney may register for appointment as counsel in postconviction capital collateral proceedings. As necessary, the executive director may also advertise in legal publications and other appropriate media for qualified attorneys interested in registering for appointment as counsel in postconviction capital collateral proceedings. Not later than September 1 of each year, and as necessary thereafter, the executive director shall provide to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the chief judge and state attorney in each judicial circuit, and the Attorney General a current copy of its registry of attorneys who are available for appointment as counsel in postconviction capital collateral proceedings. The registry must be indexed by judicial circuit and must contain the requisite information submitted by the applicants in accordance with this section.
(2) To be eligible for court appointment as counsel in postconviction capital collateral proceedings, an attorney must certify on an application provided by the executive director that he or she satisfies the minimum requirements for private counsel set forth in s. 27.704(2).
(3) An attorney who applies for registration and court appointment as counsel in postconviction capital collateral proceedings must certify that he or she is counsel of record in not more than four such proceedings and, if appointed to represent a person in postconviction capital collateral proceedings, shall continue such representation under the terms and conditions set forth in s. 27.711 until the sentence is reversed, reduced, or carried out or unless permitted to withdraw from representation by the trial court. The court may not permit an attorney to withdraw from representation without a finding of sufficient good cause. The court may impose appropriate sanctions if it finds that an attorney has shown bad faith with respect to continuing to represent a defendant in a postconviction capital collateral proceeding. This section does not preclude the court from reassigning a case to a capital collateral regional counsel following discontinuation of representation if a conflict of interest no longer exists with respect to the case.
(4) Each private attorney who is appointed by the court to represent a capital defendant must enter into a contract with the Comptroller. If the appointed attorney fails to execute the contract within 30 days after the date the contract is mailed to the attorney, the executive director of the Commission on Capital Cases shall notify the trial court. The Comptroller shall develop the form of the contract, function as contract manager, and enforce performance of the terms and conditions of the contract. By signing such contract, the attorney certifies that he or she intends to continue the representation under the terms and conditions set forth in the contract until the sentence is reversed, reduced, or carried out or until released by order of the trial court.
(5)(a) Upon the motion of the capital collateral regional counsel to withdraw pursuant to s. 924.056(1)(a); or
(b) Upon notification by the state attorney or the Attorney General that:
1. Thirty days have elapsed since appointment of the capital collateral regional counsel and no entry of appearance has been filed pursuant to s. 924.056; or
2. A person under sentence of death who was previously represented by private counsel is currently unrepresented in a postconviction capital collateral proceeding,
the executive director shall immediately notify the trial court that imposed the sentence of death that the court must immediately appoint an attorney, selected from the current registry, to represent such person in collateral actions challenging the legality of the judgment and sentence in the appropriate state and federal courts. The court shall have the authority to strike a notice of appearance filed by a Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, if the court finds the notice was not filed in good faith and may so notify the executive director that the client is no longer represented by the Office of Capital Collateral Regional Counsel. In making an assignment, the court shall give priority to attorneys whose experience and abilities in criminal law, especially in capital proceedings, are known by the court to be commensurate with the responsibility of representing a person sentenced to death. The trial court must issue an order of appointment which contains specific findings that the appointed counsel meets the statutory requirements and has the high ethical standards necessary to represent a person sentenced to death.
(6) More than one attorney may not be appointed and compensated at any one time under s. 27.711 to represent a person in postconviction capital collateral proceedings. However, an attorney appointed under this section may designate another attorney to assist him or her if the designated attorney meets the qualifications of this section.
History.--s. 3, ch. 98-197; s. 4, ch. 99-221; s. 11, ch. 2000-3.