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H.B. 339

             1     

INDIGENT DEFENSE IN JUSTICE COURTS

             2     
2013 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Brian M. Greene

             5     
Senate Sponsor: ____________

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill requires the appointment of counsel for indigents if the offense the person is
             10      charged with includes the possibility of incarceration.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    requires the appointment of counsel for indigents if the person is charged with an
             14      offense, the punishment for which includes incarceration.
             15      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             16          None
             17      Other Special Clauses:
             18          None
             19      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             20      AMENDS:
             21          77-32-202, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2012, Chapter 180
             22          77-32-302, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2012, Chapter 180
             23          78A-7-103, as repealed and reenacted by Laws of Utah 2012, Chapter 205
             24     
             25      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             26          Section 1. Section 77-32-202 is amended to read:
             27           77-32-202. Procedure for determination of indigency -- Standards.


             28          (1) A determination of indigency or continuing indigency of any defendant may be
             29      made by the court at any stage of the proceedings.
             30          (2) (a) Any defendant claiming indigency who is charged with a crime the penalty of
             31      which is a class A misdemeanor or serious offense shall file with the court a fully complete
             32      affidavit verified by a notary or other person authorized by law to administer an oath and file a
             33      copy of that affidavit with the prosecuting entity. The affidavit shall contain the factual
             34      information required in this section and by the court.
             35          (b) A defendant claiming indigency who is charged with a crime the penalty of which
             36      is less than a class A misdemeanor is not required to comply with the requirements of
             37      Subsection (2)(a) [and Subsection (4)].
             38          (3) (a) "Indigency" means that a person:
             39          (i) does not have sufficient income, assets, credit, or other means to provide for the
             40      payment of legal counsel and all other necessary expenses of representation without depriving
             41      that person or the family of that person of food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities; or
             42          (ii) has an income level at or below 150% of the United States poverty level as defined
             43      by the most recently revised poverty income guidelines published by the United States
             44      Department of Health and Human Services; and
             45          (iii) has not transferred or otherwise disposed of any assets since the commission of the
             46      offense with the intent of establishing eligibility for the appointment of counsel under this
             47      chapter.
             48          (b) In making a determination of indigency under Subsection (3)(a)(i), the court shall
             49      consider:
             50          (i) the probable expense and burden of defending the case;
             51          (ii) the ownership of, or any interest in, any tangible or intangible personal property or
             52      real property, or reasonable expectancy of any such interest;
             53          (iii) the amounts of debts [owned] owed by the defendant or that might reasonably be
             54      incurred by the defendant because of illness or other needs within the defendant's family;
             55          (iv) number, ages, and relationships of any dependents;
             56          (v) the reasonableness of fees and expenses charged to the defendant by the defendant's
             57      attorney and the scope of representation undertaken where the defendant is represented by
             58      privately retained defense counsel; and


             59          (vi) other factors considered relevant by the court.
             60          (4) (a) Upon making a finding of indigence, the court shall enter the findings on the
             61      record and enter an order assigning a defense services provider to represent the defendant in the
             62      case.
             63          (b) Upon finding indigence when the defendant has privately retained counsel, the
             64      court, subject to Section 77-32-303 , shall enter the findings into the record and issue an order
             65      directing the county or municipality to coordinate the providing of defense resources as
             66      appropriate.
             67          (c) The clerk of the court shall send a copy of the affidavit and order to the prosecutor
             68      and to the county clerk or municipal recorder.
             69          (5) If the county or municipality providing the defense services provider has any
             70      objections to or concerns with the finding of indigency and assignment of a defense services
             71      provider or the continuing of indigency status and assignment of a defense services provider, it
             72      shall file notice with the court and a hearing shall be scheduled to review the findings and give
             73      the county or municipality the opportunity to present evidence and arguments as to the reasons
             74      the finding of indigency should be reversed and the court shall proceed as provided in
             75      Subsection 77-32-302 (4).
             76          (6) (a) If the trial court finds within one year after the determination of indigency that
             77      any defendant was erroneously or improperly determined to be indigent, the county or
             78      municipality may proceed against that defendant for the reasonable value of the services
             79      rendered to the defendant, including all costs paid by the county or municipality in providing
             80      the legal defense.
             81          (b) Subsection (6)(a) does not affect any restitution required of the defendant by the
             82      court pursuant to Chapter 32a, Defense Costs.
             83          (c) A defendant claiming indigency has a continuing duty to inform the court of any
             84      material changes or change in circumstances that may affect the determination of his eligibility
             85      for indigency.
             86          (d) Any person who intentionally or knowingly makes a material false statement or
             87      omits a material fact in an affidavit for indigency is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
             88          Section 2. Section 77-32-302 is amended to read:
             89           77-32-302. Assignment of counsel on request of indigent or order of court.


             90          (1) The defense services provider shall be assigned to represent each indigent and shall
             91      provide the legal defense services necessary for an effective defense, if the indigent is under
             92      arrest for or charged with a crime [in] for which [there is a substantial probability that the]
             93      incarceration is a permissible penalty [to be imposed is confinement in either jail or prison]
             94      upon conviction, if:
             95          (a) the indigent requests legal defense; or
             96          (b) the court on its own motion or otherwise orders legal defense services and the
             97      defendant does not affirmatively waive or reject on the record the opportunity to be provided
             98      legal defense.
             99          (2) (a) If a county responsible for providing indigent legal defense has established a
             100      county legal defender's office and the court has received notice of the establishment of the
             101      office, the court shall assign to the county legal defender's office the responsibility to defend
             102      indigent defendants within the county and provide defense resources.
             103          (b) If the county or municipality responsible to provide for the legal defense of an
             104      indigent has arranged by contract to provide those services through a defense services provider,
             105      and the court has received notice or a copy of the contract, the court shall assign the defense
             106      services provider named in the contract to provide legal defense.
             107          (c) If no county or municipal defense services provider contract exists, the court shall
             108      select and assign a legal defense provider.
             109          (d) If the court considers the assignment of a noncontracting legal defense provider to
             110      an indigent defendant despite the existence of a defense services provider contract and the
             111      court has a copy or notice of the contract, before the court may make the assignment, it shall:
             112          (i) set the matter for a hearing;
             113          (ii) give proper notice of the hearing to the attorney of the responsible county or
             114      municipality and county clerk or municipal recorder; and
             115          (iii) make findings that there is a compelling reason to appoint a noncontracting
             116      attorney.
             117          (e) The indigent's preference for other counsel or defense resources may not be
             118      considered a compelling reason justifying the appointment of a noncontracting defense services
             119      provider.
             120          (3) The court may make a determination of indigency at any time.


             121          Section 3. Section 78A-7-103 is amended to read:
             122           78A-7-103. Minimum standards of justice courts -- Authority of Judicial Council
             123      over justice courts.
             124          (1) The Judicial Council shall ensure that:
             125          (a) procedures include requirements that every municipality or county that establishes
             126      or maintains a justice court provide for the following minimum operating standards:
             127          (i) a system to ensure the justice court records all proceedings with a digital audio
             128      recording device and maintains the audio recordings for a minimum of one year;
             129          (ii) sufficient prosecutors to perform the prosecutorial duties before the justice court;
             130          (iii) adequate funding to defend all persons charged with a [public offense] crime for
             131      which incarceration is a permissible penalty upon conviction, and who are determined by the
             132      justice court to be indigent under Title 77, Chapter 32, Indigent Defense Act;
             133          (iv) sufficient local peace officers to provide security for the justice court and to attend
             134      to the justice court when required;
             135          (v) sufficient clerical personnel to serve the needs of the justice court;
             136          (vi) sufficient funds to cover the cost of travel and training expenses of clerical
             137      personnel and judges at training sessions mandated by the Judicial Council;
             138          (vii) adequate courtroom and auxiliary space for the justice court, which need not be
             139      specifically constructed for or allocated solely for the justice court when existing facilities
             140      adequately serve the purposes of the justice court; and
             141          (viii) for each judge of its justice court, a current copy of the Utah Code, the Utah
             142      Court Rules Annotated, the justice court manual published by the state court administrator, the
             143      county, city, or town ordinances as appropriate, and other legal reference materials as
             144      determined to be necessary by the judge; and
             145          (b) the Judicial Council's rules and procedures shall:
             146          (i) presume that existing justice courts will be recertified at the end of each four-year
             147      term if the court continues to meet the minimum requirements for the establishment of a new
             148      justice court; or
             149          (ii) authorize the Judicial Council, upon request of a municipality or county or upon its
             150      own review, when a justice court does not meet the minimum requirements, to:
             151          (A) decline recertification of a justice court;


             152          (B) revoke the certification of a justice court;
             153          (C) extend the time for a justice court to comply with the minimum requirements; or
             154          (D) suspend rules of the Judicial Council governing justice courts, if the council
             155      believes suspending those rules is the appropriate administrative remedy for the justice courts
             156      of this state.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-15-13 12:25 PM


Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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