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October 10, 2018

2003 Guideline 3.1


A. The Legal Representation Plan should designate one or more agencies to be responsible, in accordance with the standards provided in these Guidelines (the “Responsible Agency”) for:

1. ensuring that each capital defendant in the jurisdiction receives high quality legal representation, and

2. performing all the duties listed in Subsection E.

B. The Responsible Agency should be independent of the judiciary and it, and not the judiciary or elected officials, should select lawyers for specific cases.

C. The Responsible Agency for each stage of the proceeding in a particular case should be one of the following:

Defender Organization

1. A “defender organization,” that is, either:

a. a jurisdiction-wide capital trial office, relying on staff attorneys, members of the private bar, or both to provide representation in death penalty cases; or

b. a jurisdiction-wide capital appellate and/or post-conviction defender office, relying on staff attorneys, members of the private bar, or both to provide representation in death penalty cases; or

Independent Authority

2. An “Independent Authority,” that is, an entity run by defense attorneys with demonstrated knowledge and expertise in capital representation.

D. Conflict of Interest:

1. In any circumstance in which the performance by a defender organization of a duty listed in Subsection E would result in a conflict of interest, the relevant duty should be performed by the Independent Authority. The jurisdiction should implement an effectual system to identify and resolve such conflicts.

2. When the Independent Authority is the Responsible Agency, attorneys who hold formal roles in the Independent Authority should be ineligible to represent defendants in capital cases within the jurisdiction during their term of service.

E. The Responsible Agency should, in accordance with the provisions of these Guidelines, perform the following duties:

1. recruit and certify attorneys as qualified to be appointed to represent defendants in death penalty cases;

2. draft and periodically publish rosters of certified attorneys;

3. draft and periodically publish certification standards and procedures by which attorneys are certified and assigned to particular cases;

4. assign the attorneys who will represent the defendant at each stage of every case, except to the extent that the defendant has private attorneys;

5. monitor the performance of all attorneys providing representation in capital proceedings;

6. periodically review the roster of qualified attorneys and withdraw certification from any attorney who fails to provide high quality legal representation consistent with these Guidelines;

7. conduct, sponsor, or approve specialized training programs for attorneys representing defendants in death penalty cases; and

8. investigate and maintain records concerning complaints about the performance of attorneys providing representation in death penalty cases and take appropriate corrective action without delay.