28 U.S.C. § 2261 - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 28. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure § 2261. Prisoners in State custody subject to capital sentence;  appointment of counsel;  requirement of rule of court or statute;  procedures for appointment

(a)  This chapter shall apply to cases arising under section 2254 brought by prisoners in State custody who are subject to a capital sentence.  It shall apply only if the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) are satisfied.

(b) Counsel. --This chapter is applicable if--

(1)  the Attorney General of the United States certifies that a State has established a mechanism for providing counsel in postconviction proceedings as provided in section 2265 ;  and

(2)  counsel was appointed pursuant to that mechanism, petitioner validly waived counsel, petitioner retained counsel, or petitioner was found not to be indigent.

(c)  Any mechanism for the appointment, compensation, and reimbursement of counsel as provided in subsection (b) must offer counsel to all State prisoners under capital sentence and must provide for the entry of an order by a court of record--

(1)  appointing one or more counsels to represent the prisoner upon a finding that the prisoner is indigent and accepted the offer or is unable competently to decide whether to accept or reject the offer;

(2)  finding, after a hearing if necessary, that the prisoner rejected the offer of counsel and made the decision with an understanding of its legal consequences;  or

(3)  denying the appointment of counsel upon a finding that the prisoner is not indigent.

(d)  No counsel appointed pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) to represent a State prisoner under capital sentence shall have previously represented the prisoner at trial in the case for which the appointment is made unless the prisoner and counsel expressly request continued representation.

(e)  The ineffectiveness or incompetence of counsel during State or Federal post-conviction proceedings in a capital case shall not be a ground for relief in a proceeding arising under section 2254 .  This limitation shall not preclude the appointment of different counsel, on the court's own motion or at the request of the prisoner, at any phase of State or Federal post-conviction proceedings on the basis of the ineffectiveness or incompetence of counsel in such proceedings.

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