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October 10, 2018

2003 Guideline 10.15.1


A. Counsel representing a capital client at any point after conviction should be familiar with the jurisdiction’s procedures for setting execution dates and providing notice of them. Post-conviction counsel should also be thoroughly familiar with all available procedures for seeking a stay of execution.

B. If an execution date is set, post-conviction counsel should immediately take all appropriate steps to secure a stay of execution and pursue those efforts through all available fora.

C. Post-conviction counsel should seek to litigate all issues, whether or not previously presented, that are arguably meritorious under the standards applicable to high quality capital defense representation, including challenges to any overly restrictive procedural rules. Counsel should make every professionally appropriate effort to present issues in a manner that will preserve them for subsequent review.

D. The duties of the counsel representing the client on direct appeal should include filing a petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States. If appellate counsel does not intend to file such a petition, he or she should immediately notify successor counsel if known and the Responsible Agency.

E. Post-conviction counsel should fully discharge the ongoing obligations imposed by these Guidelines, including the obligations to:

1. maintain close contact with the client regarding litigation developments; and

2. continually monitor the client’s mental, physical and emotional condition for effects on the client’s legal position;

3. keep under continuing review the desirability of modifying prior counsel’s theory of the case in light of subsequent developments; and

4. continue an aggressive investigation of all aspects of the case.