Capital Postconviction Staff Attorney
The CCRC-South office is responsible for investigating, filing and litigating state postconviction motions for indigent death row inmates in the Florida trial courts, carrying forward appeals to the Florida Supreme Court, and preparing, filing and litigating habeas corpus petitions in the federal courts. Each case is assigned a unique team that includes a lead attorney (Assistant Capital Collateral Counsel) with a background in capital litigation, a second chair attorney (Staff Attorney) with more limited experience, and a member of the in-house investigative staff.
The Staff Attorney works with the Lead Attorney and Investigator to litigate postconviction and habeas proceedings in State and Federal Court. The Staff Attorney’s primary role consists of substantial research and writing project and assisting in the drafting and filing of pleadings in various courts, however, there are also litigation opportunities.
While the position is appellate in nature, Florida postconviction proceedings begin in the trial court and can lead to hearings, which allows for evidentiary development. This opens the door for attorneys to interview and prepare witnesses, conduct depositions, work with experts, conduct argument and question witnesses in open court. Death-sentenced folks are entitled to direct review by the Supreme Court which afford Attorneys the opportunity to draft appellate proceedings and also conduct oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court. Following the State postconviction proceedings, clients are then entitled to federal habeas review. Attorneys at CCRC practice in a range of courts including the trial court (postconviction motions begin here), the Florida Supreme Court, the United States District Court's (there are 3 in Florida and depending on the origin of the case, an attorney can become barred in all three), the 11th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
The Staff Attorney works closely with the clients, witnesses, and experts hired to properly challenge the conviction and sentence. Please note, the position requires frequent travel throughout the State of Florida, and periodically, nationally.
Attorneys must be a member of good standing of the Florida bar or willing to sit for the next possible examination.
Room for growth: Once an attorney has met the requirements of Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.112(k), which requires a minimum of membership in any bar for at least five years and at least three years of experience in the field of postconviction litigation, as well as participation in a combined total of five proceedings, including capital trials, capital sentencings, capital postconviction evidentiary hearings, capital collateral postconviction appeals and capital federal habeas proceedings (At least two of the five required proceedings must be postconviction or federal habeas proceedings), the Attorney can become lead qualified.