Frequently Asked Questions
Attorney Appointments to Capital Appeals and Habeas Corpus Proceedings

Appointment to capital appeals is through the California Supreme Court. The Court maintains information on its policies and practices regarding such appointments on its Representation of Death Penalty Inmates webpage. The qualifications for such appointments are set forth in the California Rules of Court, Rule 8.605.

Appointment to capital habeas proceedings was formerly through the California Supreme Court, but is now via the superior court having jurisdiction over the proceeding. Applications for such appointments should be directed to the corresponding regional panel. The qualifications for such appointments are set forth in the California Rules of Court, Rule 8.652.


Appointment to Non-Capital Appeals

Attorneys who are interested in appointment to non-capital appeals should contact one of the Court of Appeal projects that serve the six Appellate Districts of California. Interested attorneys may apply to as many of these panels as they wish, although a logical first step is to apply to the project which serves the area in which the attorney practices and resides.

The California Judicial Council maintains an Appellate Project webpage with contact information for all five appellate projects.

Inmate Communications With CAP-SF

The San Francisco office of the California Appellate Project (CAP-SF) assists only in the representation of persons who have been sentenced to death in California.

Many non-capital inmates seeking assistance on their appeals, or on habeas corpus, contact CAP-SF. We refer almost all of these inquiries to the various Court of Appeal appointed counsel projects.


Assistance in Non-Capital Appeals or Habeas Corpus Proceedings

Non-Capital Appeals or Habeas Proceedings in State Court:
Inmates seeking appellate in non-capital appeals or habeas corpus proceedings in California state court should contact the Court of Appeal appellate project serving the county in which the trial occurred. The California Judicial Council maintains an Appellate Project webpage with contact information for all five appellate projects.

Find an Appellate District by County: To find which appellate district serves a particular county, go to the California Appellate Courts Case Information System search page. Select the desired county from the dropdown menu labelled "find district by County," and then click the Search button.

Non-Capital Habeas Proceedings in Federal Court:
Inmates seeking assistance in non-capital federal habeas corpus proceedings should contact the Federal Public Defender Office for the federal district serving that county.

News Media Communication

Because the death penalty is an issue of public concern, the news media often contact CAP for information about specific cases or for general background information about capital punishment.

CAP's policy is not to comment on specific cases, but to refer inquiries to the appointed counsel in that case. CAP may be able to provide some general information about the death penalty, but our resources are limited and other entities may be better equipped to address those inquiries.

Persons seeking information should consider contacting such sources of information as the California Supreme Court, the Death Penalty Information Center, Death Penalty Focus of California, or California Attorneys For Criminal Justice, as appropriate to the inquiry.


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