Unless petitioner is proceeding pro se or is represented by retained counsel, upon a request by petitioner to the Clerk of the Supreme Court and upon a finding that the petitioner is indigent, the Supreme Court shall appoint counsel to assist in preparing and presenting a first personal restraint petition. Appointed counsel must have demonstrated the necessary proficiency and commitment which exemplifies the quality of representation appropriate to capital cases. At least one attorney so appointed must have at least three years of experience in handling appeals or collateral reviews on criminal convictions and must be learned in the law of capital punishment by training or experience.

A list of attorneys qualified for appointment in death penalty personal restraint petitions will be recruited and maintained by a panel created by the Supreme Court. In appointing counsel, the Supreme Court will consider this list. However, the Supreme Court will have the final discretion in the appointment of counsel in personal restraint petitions in capital cases.

Counsel will not be appointed if the petitioner has clearly elected to proceed pro se and the court is satisfied that petitioner's election is knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. An attorney who represented the petitioner at trial will not be appointed. An attorney who represented petitioner on direct appeal will not be appointed unless petitioner and the attorney expressly request continued representation. Statutes providing for payment of expenses with public funds are not superseded by this rule.

The Supreme Court may appoint counsel to assist in a second or subsequent petition in accord with RCW 10.73.150.