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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title V
JUDICIAL BRANCH
Chapter 27
STATE ATTORNEYS; PUBLIC DEFENDERS; RELATED OFFICES
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F.S. 27.711
27.711 Terms and conditions of appointment of attorneys as counsel in postconviction capital collateral proceedings.
(1) As used in s. 27.710 and this section, the term:
(a) “Capital defendant” means the person who is represented in postconviction capital collateral proceedings by an attorney appointed under s. 27.710.
(b) “Executive director” means the executive director of the Justice Administrative Commission.
(c) “Postconviction capital collateral proceedings” means one series of collateral litigation of an affirmed conviction and sentence of death, including the proceedings in the trial court that imposed the capital sentence, any appellate review of the sentence by the Supreme Court, any certiorari review of the sentence by the United States Supreme Court, and any authorized federal habeas corpus litigation with respect to the sentence. The term does not include repetitive or successive collateral challenges to a conviction and sentence of death which is affirmed by the Supreme Court and undisturbed by any collateral litigation.
(2) After appointment by the trial court under s. 27.710, the attorney must immediately file a notice of appearance with the trial court indicating acceptance of the appointment to represent the capital defendant throughout all postconviction capital collateral proceedings, including federal habeas corpus proceedings, in accordance with this section or until released by order of the trial court.
(3) An attorney appointed to represent a capital defendant is entitled to payment of the fees set forth in this section only upon full performance by the attorney of the duties specified in this section and approval of payment by the trial court, and the submission of a payment request by the attorney, subject to the availability of sufficient funding specifically appropriated for this purpose. The Justice Administrative Commission shall notify the court if it appears that sufficient funding has not been specifically appropriated for this purpose to pay any fees which may be incurred. The attorney shall maintain appropriate documentation, including a current and detailed hourly accounting of time spent representing the capital defendant. The fee and payment schedule in this section is the exclusive means of compensating a court-appointed attorney who represents a capital defendant. When appropriate, a court-appointed attorney must seek further compensation from the Federal Government, as provided in 18 U.S.C. s. 3006A or other federal law, in habeas corpus litigation in the federal courts.
(4) Upon approval by the trial court, an attorney appointed to represent a capital defendant under s. 27.710 is entitled to payment of the following fees by the Justice Administrative Commission:
(a) Regardless of the stage of postconviction capital collateral proceedings, the attorney is entitled to $100 per hour, up to a maximum of $2,500, after accepting appointment and filing a notice of appearance.
(b) The attorney is entitled to $100 per hour, up to a maximum of $20,000, after timely filing in the trial court the capital defendant’s complete original motion for postconviction relief under the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. The motion must raise all issues to be addressed by the trial court. However, an attorney is entitled to fees under this paragraph if the court schedules a hearing on a matter that makes the filing of the original motion for postconviction relief unnecessary or if the court otherwise disposes of the case.
(c) The attorney is entitled to $100 per hour, up to a maximum of $20,000, after the trial court issues a final order granting or denying the capital defendant’s motion for postconviction relief.
(d) The attorney is entitled to $100 per hour, up to a maximum of $20,000, after timely filing in the Supreme Court the capital defendant’s brief or briefs that address the trial court’s final order granting or denying the capital defendant’s motion for postconviction relief and the state petition for writ of habeas corpus.
(e) The attorney is entitled to $100 per hour, up to a maximum of $10,000, after the trial court issues an order, pursuant to a remand from the Supreme Court, which directs the trial court to hold further proceedings on the capital defendant’s motion for postconviction relief.
(f) The attorney is entitled to $100 per hour, up to a maximum of $4,000, after the appeal of the trial court’s denial of the capital defendant’s motion for postconviction relief and the capital defendant’s state petition for writ of habeas corpus become final in the Supreme Court.
(g) At the conclusion of the capital defendant’s postconviction capital collateral proceedings in state court, the attorney is entitled to $100 per hour, up to a maximum of $2,500, after filing a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States.
(h) If, at any time, a death warrant is issued, the attorney is entitled to $100 per hour, up to a maximum of $5,000. This payment shall be full compensation for attorney fees and costs for representing the capital defendant throughout the proceedings before the state courts of Florida.

The hours billed by a contracting attorney under this subsection may include time devoted to representation of the defendant by another attorney who is qualified under s. 27.710 and who has been designated by the contracting attorney to assist him or her.

(5) An attorney who represents a capital defendant may use the services of one or more investigators to assist in representing a capital defendant. Upon approval by the trial court, the attorney is entitled to payment from the Justice Administrative Commission of $40 per hour, up to a maximum of $15,000, for the purpose of paying for investigative services.
(6) An attorney who represents a capital defendant is entitled to a maximum of $15,000 for miscellaneous expenses, such as the costs of preparing transcripts, compensating expert witnesses, and copying documents. Upon approval by the trial court, the attorney is entitled to payment by the Justice Administrative Commission of up to $15,000 for miscellaneous expenses, except that, if the trial court finds that extraordinary circumstances exist, the attorney is entitled to payment in excess of $15,000.
(7) An attorney who is actively representing a capital defendant is entitled to a maximum of $500 per fiscal year for tuition and expenses for continuing legal education that pertains to the representation of capital defendants. Upon approval by the trial court, the attorney is entitled to payment by the Justice Administrative Commission for expenses for such tuition and continuing legal education.
(8) By accepting court appointment under s. 27.710 to represent a capital defendant, the attorney agrees to continue such representation under the terms and conditions set forth in this section until the capital defendant’s sentence is reversed, reduced, or carried out, and the attorney is permitted to withdraw from such representation by a court of competent jurisdiction. However, if an attorney is permitted to withdraw or is otherwise removed from representation prior to full performance of the duties specified in this section, the trial court shall approve payment of fees and costs for work performed, which may not exceed the amounts specified in this section. An attorney who withdraws or is removed from representation shall deliver all files, notes, documents, and research to the successor attorney within 15 days after notice from the successor attorney. The successor attorney shall bear the cost of transmitting the files, notes, documents, and research.
(9) An attorney may not represent more than ten defendants in capital postconviction litigation at any one time.
(10) This section does not authorize an attorney who represents a capital defendant to file repetitive or frivolous pleadings that are not supported by law or by the facts of the case. An action taken by an attorney who represents a capital defendant in postconviction capital collateral proceedings may not be the basis for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.
(11) An attorney appointed under s. 27.710 to represent a capital defendant may not represent the capital defendant during a retrial, a resentencing proceeding, a proceeding commenced under chapter 940, a proceeding challenging a conviction or sentence other than the conviction and sentence of death for which the appointment was made, or any civil litigation other than habeas corpus proceedings.
(12) The court shall monitor the performance of assigned counsel to ensure that the capital defendant is receiving quality representation. The court shall also receive and evaluate allegations that are made regarding the performance of assigned counsel. The Justice Administrative Commission, the Department of Legal Affairs, or any interested person may advise the court of any circumstance that could affect the quality of representation, including, but not limited to, false or fraudulent billing, misconduct, failure to meet continuing legal education requirements, solicitation to receive compensation from the capital defendant, or failure to file appropriate motions in a timely manner.
(13) Before the filing of a motion for order approving payment of attorney fees, costs, or related expenses, the assigned counsel shall deliver a copy of his intended billing, together with supporting affidavits and all other necessary documentation, to the Justice Administrative Commission. The Justice Administrative Commission shall review the intended billing for completeness and compliance with contractual and statutory requirements. If the Justice Administrative Commission objects to any portion of the proposed billing, the objection and reasons therefor shall be communicated to the assigned counsel. The assigned counsel may thereafter file his or her motion for order approving payment of attorney fees, costs, or related expenses together with supporting affidavits and all other necessary documentation. The motion must specify whether the Justice Administrative Commission objects to any portion of the billing or the sufficiency of documentation and, if so, the reason therefor. A copy of the motions and attachments shall be served on the Justice Administrative Commission at least 5 business days before the date of a hearing. The Justice Administrative Commission has standing to appear before the court to contest any motion for an order approving payment of attorney fees, costs, or related expenses and may participate in a hearing on the motion by use of telephonic or other communication equipment. The fact that the Justice Administrative Commission has not objected to any portion of the billing or to the sufficiency of the documentation is not binding on the court, which retains primary authority and responsibility for determining the reasonableness of all billings for fees, costs, and related expenses, subject to statutory limitations.
History.s. 4, ch. 98-197; s. 5, ch. 99-221; s. 16, ch. 2000-3; s. 4, ch. 2002-31; s. 88, ch. 2003-261; ss. 87, 88, ch. 2003-399; s. 3, ch. 2004-240; ss. 66, 67, 76, ch. 2004-269; s. 5, ch. 2011-131; s. 10, ch. 2013-216.