CAP/LA was established in 1986 to be the contract administrator for the Second District Court of Appeal. Under the federal constitution and state law, indigent litigants are entitled to court-appointed counsel in criminal, juvenile delinquency, and juvenile dependency cases, as well as in some mental health commitment proceedings. California Rules of Court, rule 8.300, requires the Courts of Appeal to adopt procedures for appointing counsel in these cases and permits the courts to contract with an administrator to perform the duties outlined in rule 8.300. The Second District contracts with CAP/LA to perform these duties which include: maintaining a list of qualified attorneys who are willing to take appointments in indigent appeals and evaluating the performance of those attorneys; evaluating the complexity of cases; and, based upon the evaluations of both the attorney and the case, making recommendations to the Court for appointment of counsel to each specific case.
Under its contract, CAP/LA additionally provides training and support for the attorneys who are appointed on Second District appeals. CAP/LA's mission is to ensure that court-appointed attorneys provide the effective representation that the federal constitution and the laws of the State of California guarantee to indigent appellants.
To this end, CAP/LA provides close supervision and assistance on selected cases and assistance and resources upon request in any case. CAP/LA also develops training materials and presents training programs to panel members on criminal, delinquency, and dependency law and appellate practice.
In addition to these services, CAP/LA accepts court appointments and directly represents some indigent litigants on appeal. CAP/LA also assists individuals in filing notices of appeal in criminal, delinquency, and dependency cases on request.