Capital Defense Certification

Defense attorneys wishing to be eligible for appointment in capital cases must meet certain requirements depending on the case type for which they apply (see below).  An attorney whose application is approved will be included on the capital appointment list required by Va. Code Sec. 19.2-163.8(B) for a period of four (4) years or until December 1st of the Sunset Year, whichever occurs first.  First Sunset Year is 2019.

INITIAL CAPITAL CERTIFICATION TRAINING

Initial Capital Certification Training:

  • Date:  June 13-14, 2019
    Eligibility:  Attorneys seeking Initial Capital Certification or Sunset Application requirements
    Location:  Bank of America Center, 1111 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219  (3rd Floor Conference Room)
    Cost: $0.00
    Online Registration:  https://goo.gl/forms/ehDH0yv8kX6mElkG2

Capital Habeas Certification Training:

  • Date: July 26, 2019
    Eligibility:  Attorneys seeking Initial Capital Habeas Certification or Sunset Application requirements
    Location: VIDC Administrative Office, 1604 Santa Rosa Road, Suite 200, Richmond, VA
    Cost: $0.00
    Online Registrationhttps://forms.gle/BgX3BqdJEL8hbQY38

INITIAL CAPITAL CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Capital Trial Lead Counsel

  • Initial Capital Certification Training (or approved waiver);
  • Be licensed to practice law and in good standing;
  • Have demonstrated a commitment to providing zealous advocacy and high quality legal representation; and
  • Describe with particularity the basis of the attorney’s belief that he or she is qualified for such appointment, including:
    i.
     A listing of each capital murder case in which the attorney served as counsel over the previous ten (10) years, naming the client, jurisdiction, judge, prosecuting attorney, and co-counsel if any. Case description should include date or arraignment or indictment, date of disposition, disposition, and particular work performed by the attorney (i.e. investigation, motions, etc.);
    ii. A listing of all relevant training experiences during the previous five (5) years; and
    iii. Any other experience or employment bearing on the attorney’s qualifications.

Capital Trial Co-counsel

  • Initial Capital Certification Training (or approved waiver);
  • Be licensed to practice law and in good standing;
  • Have demonstrated a commitment to providing zealous advocacy and high quality legal representation; and
  • Describe with particularity the basis of the attorney’s belief that he or she is qualified for such appointment, including:
    i.
     A listing of each non-capital murder case and serious felony carrying a maximum life sentence in which the attorney served as counsel over the previous ten (10) years, naming the client, jurisdiction, judge, prosecuting attorney, and co-counsel if any. Case descriptions should include date or arraignment or indictment, date of disposition, disposition, and particular work performed by the attorney (i.e. investigation, motions, etc);
    ii. A listing of all relevant training experiences during the previous five (5) years; and
    iii. Any other experience or employment bearing on the attorney’s qualifications.

Capital Appellate Counsel

  • Initial Capital Certification Training (or approved waiver);
  • Be licensed to practice law and in good standing;
  • Be thoroughly familiar with the rules and procedures of appellate practice;
  • Provide information relating to the attorney's experience as counsel in direct appeals of felony convictions; and
  • Have demonstrated a commitment to providing zealous advocacy and high quality legal representation.

Capital  Habeas Counsel

  • Initial Capital Certification Training (or approved waiver);
  • Be licensed to practice law and in good standing;
  • Six (6) additional hours of particularized training in capital habeas procedure and practice.  Attorneys with significant experience in capital habeas litigation may apply for a waiver by calling (804) 662-7249, ext. 134;
  • Be thoroughly familiar with the rules and procedures related to habeas proceedings;
  • Provide information relating to the attorney's experience as counsel in at least one (1) habeas proceeding; and
  • Have demonstrated a commitment to providing zealous advocacy and high quality legal representation.

RE-CERTIFICATION:

Within two (2) years of being initially certified, attorneys will need to formally re-certify by completing a Renewal Application confirming the completion of the requisite number of VIDC & MCLE approved continued legal education credit hours.  The number of hours needed depends on the case types for which you are seeking re-certification;

  • Capital Trial Lead and Co-Counsel
    Complete at least ten (10) hours of specialized training in capital litigation. (The Annual Capital Defense Workshop, sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association, will meet the re-certification requirement).
  • Capital Appellate Counsel
    Complete two (2) hours of particularized capital appellate training.
  • Capital  Habeas Counsel
    Complete six (6) hours of particularized capital habeas training.

SUNSET PROVISION:

Every four (4) years, the capital certification list will expire on December 1st (first Sunset Year is 2019).  During a Sunset Year, in order to remain certified, an attorney will need to submit a Sunset Application certifying the completion of the required VIDC & MCLE approved continued legal education credit hours, as listed above.  Additionally, an attorney must provide information regarding their continued representation of criminal defendants in capital murder cases or other serious felonies with the previous four (4) years.  Sunset Applications are due no later than November 1st of the Sunset Year to avoid any lapse in certification.  The expiration of an attorney's certification will not affect prior appointment in any pending case.

CAPITAL CERTIFICATION APPLICATIONS & REQUIREMENTS

Initial Applications: For attorneys seeking initial certification Re-Certification Renewal Application: For attorneys seeking renewal within two (2) years initial certification Sunset Application: For attorneys seeking renewal during the Sunset Year (2019)