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 aims 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. Project staff offer assistance and training to capital § 2255 counsel nationwide in what remains a relatively new area of law and litigation. The Project also monitors case proceedings and legal developments around the country, maintains current data on the composition of the federal death row and provides direct representation in a limited number of cases.
On September 3, 2021, the District Court for the District of North Dakota ruled that Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr. was entitled to a new penalty phase proceeding on account of a government expert's "unreliable, misleading, and inaccurate testimony" about the victim's cause of death, and trial counsel's failure to properly investigate and present compelling mitigating evidence about their client's mental health. United States v. Rodriguez, 2:04-cr-00055-RRE (D. N.D. Sep, 3, 2021)