What is the purpose of the program?
The Capital Collateral Regional Counsels (CCRC)
provide representation to defendants under sentence of death who have exhausted their direct appeals and who seek to challenge the sentence on other grounds. The program was designed to allow collateral legal proceedings to be commenced in a timely manner and to assure the people of Florida that court judgments are final.
Counsel is provided to indigent defendants free of charge, and the law provides for assessment of fees to those who are able to afford some, if not all, of the legal services.
What are collateral challenges?
When a defendant's direct appeal is completed, the Capital Collateral Counsel is notified to begin post-conviction collateral proceedings. Collateral challenges focus on the effectiveness of trial and appellate counsel, the discovery of new or undisclosed evidence, or other issues that had not been previously raised, but pertain to the defendant's guilt or the appropriateness of the death penalty.
How are the regional counsels organized?
Florida law requires three Capital Collateral Regional Counsels (CCRC)
be located in the northern, middle, and southern regions of the state.
- The northern region covers Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington counties.
- The middle region covers Brevard, Citrus, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Manatee, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, St. Johns, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties.
- The southern region covers Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Miami-Dade, Glades, Hendry, Indian River, Lee, Martin, Monroe, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie counties.
What is the Capital Collateral Registry?
In some cases, the regional counsel may have a conflict of interest. If the sentencing court determines that an actual conflict exists, another regional counsel will be designated. If the replacement regional counsel also has a conflict of interest, the court will appoint private counsel. To ensure that sufficient attorneys are available for appointment, the Justice Administrative Commission
maintains a registry of attorneys who have indicated their eligibility to represent indigent defendants in capital collateral cases. Private attorneys wishing to be included on the Capital Collateral Registry
must be in good standing with the Florida Bar
, have at least 3 years' experience in the practice of criminal law, and have participated in at least two capital trials or two capital sentencing proceedings, five felony appeals, or five capital post-conviction evidentiary hearings, or any combination of at least five such proceedings. Registry attorneys can represent a maximum of 9 post-conviction defendants at a time.
For Fiscal Year 2020-21, the CCRC filed 93.5% of cases with post-conviction motions, post-conviction appeals, federal habeas corpus motions, or federal appeals timely, without extension.
How are these activities funded?
Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?
Where can I get more information?
The Auditor General reports on the Capital Collateral Regional Counsels operations are available on its website.
Archived reports from the Commission on Capital Cases are available on its website.
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan
What are the applicable statutes?
Chapter 27 Part IV
, Florida Statutes.
Whom do I contact for help?