The Federal Capital Habeas Project (the "2255 Project") was created in early 2006 by the Office of Defender Services of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. The 2255 Project was established to assist federal courts with appointment of counsel in federal death penalty habeas proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2255 and to ensure that all individuals sentenced to death in federal court who have completed their direct appeals receive post-conviction representation consistent with the highest standards of the legal profession. The project’s five attorneys and paralegal work under the auspices of the Federal Defender Program and focus on the following areas:
• Recruitment of §2255 Counsel: One of the Project’s principal responsibilities is the recruitment of qualified counsel to represent prisoners in §2255 proceedings.
• Monitoring Pending §2255 Litigation: The Project closely follows the case of every prisoner on the federal row as it moves from formal sentencing through the direct appeal process into post-conviction proceedings.
• Consultation: The core work of the Project is consulting with §2255 attorneys and other lawyers representing federal death row prisoners in all aspects of post-conviction proceedings. The Project advises counsel on a range of matters, including appointment of counsel, investigative strategies, motions practice, substantive legal questions and procedural matters unique to the litigation of §2255 cases. The Project has provided consultation in §2255 cases pending in district courts throughout the country, as well as in §2255 cases on appeal from district court judgments, and in cases in which certiorari to the United States Supreme Court has been denied.
• Training: The 2255 Project organizes training seminars to educate §2255 counsel about substantive developments in federal habeas corpus law, and to provide counsel with practical information to aid them in effectively litigating their cases. The Project invites nationally recognized death penalty experts to lecture and present on issues, and provides counsel with model pleadings to assist them in their individual cases. The Project also provides intensive, individual case consultation to §2255 teams attending its training seminars so that counsel can discuss the needs and issues in their cases.