Thursday, August 23, 2001
State High Court Makes Changes to Death Penalty Case Procedures
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
The California Supreme Court yesterday added new policies and procedures for death penalty cases which the court said will make tracking case progress easier.
Among the changes adopted at the court’s regular monthly administrative conference, the justices clarified the information attorneys must provide when requesting an extension of time to file briefs.
The new procedures, which will go into effect Oct. 1, require that any declaration submitted in support of an extension request include the amount of time which has elapsed since the original due date and the number of prior extensions requested and granted or denied.
Attorneys must also include good faith estimates of the percentage of work finished at the time of the request and an estimate of the amount of time required to complete the remaining work.
The new procedures also require the attorney to state the number of pages in the record on appeal and set a proposed target date for filing the pending motion or brief.
The court has been cracking down in recent months on lawyers who fail to file briefs in capital cases after multiple extensions.
In June, it fined Los Angeles lawyers Andrew Rubin and Terrence V. Scott $1,000 each for not filing a brief until after a request for a seventh extension was denied, nearly two years past the original deadline.
Chief Justice Ronald M. George noted that Rubin had made certain representations to the court as to the amount of progress that had been made toward completion of the brief, and suggested that those representations may have been exaggerated.
Yesterday’s order also adopts a policy, effective immediately, explicitly requiring appointed counsel for a defendant appealing a death sentence to give his or her client a copy of each motion, extension request, brief, petition, or other public document filed on the client’s behalf.
The policy also requires that the client be provided any supporting declaration to the documents, with attached proof of service.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company