Page 255 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 255

 there are approximately 175 inmates on death row in Texas, only about half of their attorneys work with the nine Texas HAT resource counsel. “We can make some difference when lawyers work directly with us, but no matter what kind of training we do, what materials we provide, how much exhortation we provide, many, many of the lawyers who are appointed treat these cases as direct appeals in federal court and that is fundamentally what they are not.” Unfortunately, even with access to assistance, some appointed attorneys were not taking advantage of it, and it “has created a system whereby the mission of federal habeas has been decimated.”990
Some courts are taking constructive actions to address the training shortfall. A district court judge told the Committee:
In southern Nevada we have initiated a pilot program regarding the training, support, and review of our CJA appellate/habeas attorneys. This program was initiated last year. It has two components. First, it includes an intensive training component. All CJA appellate/habeas attorneys were required to participate in a two-day training seminar sponsored by the Court. This two-day seminar included nationally rec- ognized speakers in appellate advocacy. During the two-day seminar, appellate attorneys were encouraged to bring drafts of current briefs they were drafting. Second, the program includes a mandatory support component. All appellate/habeas attorneys were/are required to submit a current brief they are drafting to an advisory/support committee.991
Capital Habeas Units
Overwhelming evidence shows that CHUs provide zealous and effective repre- sentation. And CHUs, like traditional federal defender offices, do not need to seek judicial approval for needed expert and other services. For this reason, attorneys working within a CHU are seven times more likely to use experts in habeas corpus proceedings.992 Over time, more circuits and districts have turned to CHUs to pro- vide the full-time attorneys and support staff necessary to litigate these cases. A federal defender explained,
In order to navigate this “unique and complex” area of jurisprudence, CHUs employ attorneys, investigators, paralegals, and other administra- tive support personnel and train them in the art of capital representation. In turn, CHU staff members investigate, develop, and plead claims of constitutional error for their clients....CHU staff must not only become
990 RichardBurr,TexasRegionalHabeasandAssistanceProject,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala., Panel 3, Tr., at 5.
991 JudgeRichardBoulware,D.Nev.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel5,Writ.Test.,at3.
992 Mark Olive, National Habeas Assistance and Training Counsel, Public Hearing—Birmingham, Ala., Panel 3, Tr., at 8.
No recommendation presented herein represents
the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United 2 0 1 7 R E P O R T O F T H E A D H O C C O M M I T T E E T O R E V I E W T H E C R I M I N A L J U S T I C E A C T 211
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 






















































































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