A. The Supreme Court and the Indigent Defense Commission, in conjunction with the Virginia State Bar, shall adopt standards for attorneys admitted to practice law in Virginia who are qualified to represent defendants charged with capital murder or sentenced to death, which take into consideration, to the extent practicable, the following criteria: (i) license or permission to practice law in Virginia; (ii) general background in criminal litigation; (iii) demonstrated experience in felony practice at trial and appeal; (iv) experience in death penalty litigation; (v) familiarity with the requisite court system; (vi) current training in death penalty litigation; (vii) current training in the analysis and introduction of forensic evidence, including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing and the evidence of a DNA profile comparison to prove or disprove the identity of any person; and (viii) demonstrated proficiency and commitment to quality representation.
B. The Supreme Court and the Indigent Defense Commission shall maintain a list of attorneys admitted to practice law in Virginia who are qualified to represent defendants charged with capital murder or sentenced to death. In establishing such a list, the Court and the Commission shall consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to, the attorney’s background, experience, and training and the Court’s and the Commission’s assessment of whether the attorney is competent to provide quality legal representation.
C. Notwithstanding the requirements of § 19.2-163.7, the judge of the circuit court may appoint counsel who is not included on the list, but who otherwise qualifies under the standards established and maintained by the Court and the Commission.
D. Noncompliance with the requirements of this article shall not form the basis for a claim of error at trial, on appeal, or in any habeas corpus proceeding. The performance of habeas corpus counsel appointed pursuant to this article shall not form a basis for relief in any subsequent habeas corpus proceeding.
E. The Supreme Court and the Indigent Defense Commission shall, in conjunction with the Virginia State Bar, promulgate and thereafter maintain standards for the qualifications of counsel who shall be considered eligible to be placed on the list of qualified attorneys.
1991, c. 664; 2001, c. 766; 2004, cc. 884, 921.