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CHAPTER 7-16A

PUBLIC DEFENDER

7-16A-1      Establishment of office by commissioners' resolution.
7-16A-2      Joint office established by two or more counties.
7-16A-3      Provisions by establishing board for office.
7-16A-4      Advisory committee to be established--Composition--Chairman.
7-16A-5      Appointment and qualifications of public defender.
7-16A-6      Employment of personnel for defender's office--Administration.
7-16A-7      Qualifications of assistant defenders--Assignment to cases.
7-16A-8      Facilities and supplies for office.
7-16A-9      Persons to be represented--Services provided.
7-16A-10      Proceedings in which indigents represented--Co-counsel.
7-16A-11      Representation restricted to state courts--Federal matters excepted--Compensation paid by federal courts.
7-16A-12      Assignment of substitute when public defender unable to perform--Duty--Compensation of substitute.
7-16A-13      Extension to representation in municipal ordinance violations--Contributions by municipality.
7-16A-14      Payment of expenses directly related to particular cases.
7-16A-15      Apportionment of expenses not otherwise allocable.
7-16A-16      County appropriations for public defender fund--Administration and accounting for fund--Private contributions.
7-16A-17      Monthly report to circuit court for setting liens--Disposition of funds collected from liens.
7-16A-18      Records maintained by public defender--Annual report to advisory committee.


     7-16A-1.   Establishment of office by commissioners' resolution. Each board of county commissioners may, by resolution, establish and maintain an office of public defender to fulfill the requirements of § 23A-40-7.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 1.


     7-16A-2.   Joint office established by two or more counties. If a board of county commissioners elects to establish and maintain an office of public defender, it may join with the board of county commissioners of one or more other counties to jointly establish and maintain an office of public defender. In that case the participating counties shall be treated for the purpose of this chapter as if they were one county.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 6.


     7-16A-3.   Provisions by establishing board for office. If a board of county commissioners elects to establish an office of public defender it shall:
             (1)      Prescribe the qualifications of the public defender, the term of office and the rate of annual compensation; and
             (2)      Provide for the establishment, maintenance, and support of the office.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 1.


     7-16A-4.   Advisory committee to be established--Composition--Chairman. A public defender advisory committee shall be established whenever an office of public defender is established. A committee shall consist of the following members:
             (1)      One person not admitted to the practice of law, not an employee of the county, and not a law enforcement officer, who shall be appointed by the county commissioners of the originating county;
             (2)      Two members of the board of county commissioners of the county, or if two or more counties are participating, one commissioner from each county, who shall be appointed by the chairman of the board of county commissioners of each county;
             (3)      Two attorneys practicing in the county or one attorney, if available, from each county, if two or more counties are participating in the plan, who shall be appointed by the presiding judge of the county's circuit court.
     The committee shall elect one of its members as chairman.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 2; SL 1983, ch 45, § 1.


     7-16A-5.   Appointment and qualifications of public defender. The advisory committee shall appoint and dismiss the public defender. To be appointed, a person shall be licensed to practice law in this state, be competent to counsel and defend a person charged with a crime, and have basic knowledge of, and experience in, criminal law.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, §§ 3, 4; SL 1983, ch 45, § 2.


     7-16A-6.   Employment of personnel for defender's office--Administration. If an office of public defender has been established, the board of county commissioners may employ, on recommendation by the public defender and in the manner and at the compensation prescribed by the advisory committee, such assistant public defenders, clerks, investigators, stenographers, and other persons as the advisory committee considers necessary for carrying out the public defender's duties. The employees shall serve at the pleasure of the public defender. Such employees and the public defender shall, for administrative purposes, be considered to be employees of the county which administers the public defender fund.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 7.


     7-16A-7.   Qualifications of assistant defenders--Assignment to cases. An assistant public defender, before employment, must be licensed to practice law in this state and be competent to counsel and defend a person charged with a crime. A public defender may assign and substitute his assistant public defenders to cases referred to the office of the public defender without prior approval of the court.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, §§ 7, 11.


     7-16A-8.   Facilities and supplies for office. If an office of public defender has been established the board of county commissioners shall provide appropriate facilities, including office space, furniture, equipment, books, postage, supplies, and interviewing facilities in the jail, necessary for carrying out the public defender's duties.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 8.


     7-16A-9.   Persons to be represented--Services provided. A public defender shall represent any indigent person who is:
             (1)      Detained by a law enforcement officer without charge or judicial process;
             (2)      Arrested or charged with having committed a crime or of being a juvenile delinquent;
             (3)      Detained under a conviction of a crime, juvenile delinquency, or mental illness; or
             (4)      Otherwise an indigent person entitled to representation by law, to the same extent as a person having his or her own counsel, and with the necessary services and facilities of representation, including investigation and other preparation, authorized or approved by a court.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 9; SL 2016, ch 44, § 35.


     7-16A-10.   Proceedings in which indigents represented--Co-counsel. An indigent person who is entitled to be represented by a public defender shall be counseled and defended at all stages of the matter beginning with the earliest time when a person providing his own counsel would be entitled to be represented by an attorney, including the revocation of probation or parole, appeal, and any other post-conviction proceeding that the public defender and the indigent consider appropriate, unless the court in which a proceeding is brought determines that it is not a proceeding that a reasonable person with adequate means would be willing to bring at his own expense. Representation may include co-counsel or associate counsel in appropriate cases.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 9.


     7-16A-11.   Representation restricted to state courts--Federal matters excepted--Compensation paid by federal courts. This chapter applies only to representation in the courts of this state, except that it does not prohibit a public defender from representing an indigent person in an action seeking relief other than the recovery of money damages in a federal court of the United States, if;
             (1)      The matter arises out of or is related to an action pending or recently pending in a court of criminal jurisdiction of the state;
             (2)      Representation is under a plan of the United States District Court as required by the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 (18 U.S.C. § 3006A) and is approved by the board of county commissioners;
             (3)      The matter arises out of an action pending in the juvenile courts of this state; or
             (4)      The matter arises out of an action pending for the involuntary commitment to the state hospital.
     Any compensation paid by a federal court of the United States shall be placed directly in the public defender fund.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 16.


     7-16A-12.   Assignment of substitute when public defender unable to perform--Duty--Compensation of substitute. If at any stage of proceedings, including appeal or other post-judgment proceedings, a public defender is unable to represent an indigent person, because of a conflict of interest or other good cause, the court concerned may assign a substitute private attorney to represent the indigent person.
     A substitute attorney has the same duty to the indigent person as the public defender for whom the attorney is substituted. The court shall prescribe reasonable compensation for the substitute attorney and approve the expenses necessarily made by the attorney for the defense of the indigent person in the manner pursuant to § 23A-40-8.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 10; SL 2016, ch 44, § 36.


     7-16A-13.   Extension to representation in municipal ordinance violations--Contributions by municipality. The governing body of a municipality situated in a county in which an office of public defender has been established, may request the board of county commissioners of the county to extend the duties of the public defender to represent all indigent persons who are subject to proceedings for a violation of the ordinances of the municipality. On receipt of the request, the board of county commissioners shall adopt a resolution so extending the duties of the public defender. The contribution that the municipality shall make toward the expenses of the public defender whose duties include the municipality, shall be set and paid as provided by written contract of the board of county commissioners and the governing body of the municipality involved.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 5.


     7-16A-14.   Payment of expenses directly related to particular cases. Any direct expense, including the cost of a transcript or substitute for a transcript, that is necessarily incurred in representing an indigent under this chapter shall be paid by the municipality or county on behalf of which the service is performed.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 13.


     7-16A-15.   Apportionment of expenses not otherwise allocable. If two or more jurisdictions jointly establish an office of public defender, the expenses not otherwise allocable among the participating jurisdictions, unless otherwise agreed upon, shall be allocated on the basis of population according to the most recent federal decennial census.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 14.


     7-16A-16.   County appropriations for public defender fund--Administration and accounting for fund--Private contributions. The board of county commissioners of each county participating in a public defender plan shall annually appropriate money from the general fund to administer the public defender. The funds appropriated by the participating counties shall be placed in a public defender fund which shall be administered by the county originating the public defender plan, unless otherwise agreed upon by the participating boards of county commissioners. Private contributions for the support of the office may be accepted and placed in the fund. The county administering the fund shall give an annual accounting to other participating counties.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 12; SL 1985, ch 77, § 4.


     7-16A-17.   Monthly report to circuit court for setting liens--Disposition of funds collected from liens. Each public defender shall submit, at least monthly, to the presiding judge of his circuit court, a list of cases disposed of by his office for the purpose of setting the liens required by § 23A-40-9. Any funds collected from public defender liens pursuant to the provisions of § 23A-40-9 shall be placed in the public defender fund to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 15.


     7-16A-18.   Records maintained by public defender--Annual report to advisory committee. A public defender shall keep appropriate records for each indigent person represented by the public defender's office. A public defender shall submit an annual report to the advisory committee showing the number of indigent persons represented by the public defender's office, the crimes involved, the outcome of each case, and the expenditures made in carrying out the public defender's responsibilities.

Source: SL 1978, ch 152, § 17; SL 2016, ch 44, § 37.


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