Capital Postconviction Lead Counsel
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. The staff attorney works in a government defender law office setting with other full and part time experienced capital; conviction lead attorneys as well as with several second chair attorneys with more limited experience in capital state postconviction and federal habeas corpus litigation, Cases are assigned within the office in a team concept.
Each case is assigned a unique team that includes a lead attorney with a background in capital litigation, a second chair attorney with more limited experience, and a member of the in-house investigative staff.
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.
Although the majority of the caseload originates from the south Florida area, conflict case appointments may arise from other areas in Florida.
Death row for male clients is located in northern Florida, which requires frequent travel for direct client contact.