California Appellate Project
The California Appellate Project ("CAP") is a non-profit law firm established in 1983 by the State Bar of California at the request of the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. Its Board of Directors is made up of former State Bar officials. Its mandate was to recruit and assist private attorneys who would be appointed to represent indigent persons in death penalty appeals and other criminal appeals and writs before the California Supreme Court. A San Francisco office (CAP-SF) was created for that purpose. The work done by CAP has a constitutional basis. In a 1963 decision, Douglas v. California (1963) 372 U.S. 353, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees an indigent defendant convicted of a felony the right to a court-appointed attorney for the appeal. The Supreme Court clarified that the guarantee of court-appointed counsel envisions the effective assistance of counsel (Evitts v. Lucy (1985) 469 U.S. 387). In addition to assisting private counsel appointed to represent indigent defendants in capital cases, CAP-SF provides professional training and litigation resource materials to counsel. It also consults, at the request of the judiciary, on policy matters regarding indigent defense representation in capital cases. CAP-SF serves the largest population of condemned individuals in the country.