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November 1, 2008
Rules concerning minimum standards for attorneys handling capital cases

The Florida Supreme Court recently amended Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.112, upon the proposal of the Florida Supreme Court Criminal Court Steering Committee and in light of the Court’s opinion in Crist v. Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc., 978 So. 2d 134 (Fla. 2008). See In re: Amendments to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.112 — Minimum Standards For Attorneys in Capital Cases, No. SC08-1292 (Fla. Oct. 8, 2008).The court invites all interested persons to comment on the amendment, which is reproduced in full below, as well as online at . An original and nine paper copies of all comments must be filed with the court on or before December 8, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on Judge O. H. Eaton, Jr., Committee Chair, c/o Les Garringer, Office of the General Counsel, 500 S. Duval Street, Tallahassee 32399-1925, as well as a separate request for oral argument if the person filing the comment wishes to participate in oral argument, which may be scheduled in this case. The committee chair has until December 29 to file a response to any comments filed with the court. Electronic copies of all comments also must be filed in accordance with the court’s administrative order In re Mandatory Submission of Electronic Copies of Documents, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC04-84 (Sept. 13, 2004).


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA

IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO FLORIDA RULE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 3.112—MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR ATTORNEYS IN CAPITAL CASES, Case No. SC08-1292

RULE 3.112. MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR ATTORNEYS IN CAPITAL CASES

(a)-(b) [No Change]

(c) Applicability. This rule applies to all lawyersdefense counsel handling capital trials and capital appeals, who are appointed or retained on or after July 1, 2002. Subject to more specific provisions in the rule, the standards established by the rule apply to Public Defenders and their assistants.

(d) List of Qualified Conflict Counsel.

(1) Every circuit shall maintain a list of conflict counsel qualified for appointment in capital cases in each of three categories:

(A) lead trial counsel;

(B) trial co-counsel; and

(C) appellate counsel.

No attorney may be appointed to handle a capital trial or appeal unless duly qualified on the appropriate list.

(2) The conflict committeechief judge for each circuit is responsible for approving and removing attorneys from the listshall maintain a list of qualified counsel pursuant to section 925.03727.40(3)(a), Florida Statutes. Each circuit committee is encouraged to obtain additional input from experienced capital defense counsel.

(e) Appointment of Counsel. A court must appoint lead counsel and, upon written application and a showing of need by lead counsel, should appoint co-counsel to handle every capital trial in which the defendant is not represented by retained counsel or the Public Defender. Lead counsel shall have the right to select co-counsel from attorneys on the lead counsel or co-counsel list. Both attorneys shall be reasonably compensated for the trial and sentencing phase. Except under extraordinary circumstances, only one attorney may be compensated for other proceedings. In capital cases in which the Public Defender or Criminal Conflict Regional Counsel is appointed, the Public Defender or Criminal Conflict Regional Counsel shall designate lead and co-counsel.

(f) Lead Counsel. Lead trial counsel assignments should be given to attorneys who:

(1)-(6) [No Change]

(7) have attended within the last two years a continuing legal education program of at least twelve hours’ duration devoted specifically to the defense of capital cases. Attorneys who do not meet the continuing legal education requirement on July 1, 2002, shall have until March 1, 2003, in which to satisfy
the continuing legal education requirement.

(g) Co-counsel. Trial co-counsel assignments should be given to attorneys who:

(1) [No Change]

(2) qualify as lead counsel under paragraph (f) of these standards or meet the following requirements:

(A)-(D) [No Change]

(E) have attended within the last two years a continuing legal education program of at least twelve hours’ duration devoted specifically to the defense of capital cases. Attorneys who do not meet the continuing legal education requirement on July 1, 2002, shall have until March 1, 2003, in which to satisfy the requirement.

(h) Appellate Counsel. Appellate counsel assignments should be given to attorneys who:

(1)-(5) [No Change]

(6) have attended within the last two years a continuing legal education program of at least twelve hours’ duration devoted specifically to the defense of capital cases. Attorneys who do not meet the continuing legal education requirement on July 1, 2002, shall have until March 1, 2003, in which to satisfy
the requirement.

(i) Notice of Appearance. An attorney who is retained or appointed in place of the Public Defender or Criminal Conflict Regional Counsel to represent a defendant in a capital case shall immediately file a notice of appearance certifying that he or she meets the qualifications of this rule. If the office of the Public Defender or Criminal Conflict Regional Counsel is appointed to represent the defendant, the pPublic dDefender or Criminal Conflict Regional Counsel shall certify that the assistants assigned as lead and co-counsel meet the requirements of this rule. A notice of appearance filed under this rule shall be served on the defendant.

(j) Limitation on Caseloads.

(1) Generally. [No Change]

(2) Public Defender. If a Public Defender or Criminal Conflict Regional Counsel seeks to refuse appointment to a new capital case based on a claim of excessive caseload, the matter should be referred to the Chief Judge of the circuit or to the administrative judge as so designated by the Chief Judge. The Chief Judge or his or her designate should coordinate with the Public Defender or Criminal Conflict Regional Counsel to assess the number of attorneys involved in capital cases, evaluate the availability of prospective attorneys, and resolve any representation issues.

(k) Exceptional Circumstances. [No Change]

Committee Comments
[No Change]

[Revised: 04-26-2017]