Alabama HB 601 / SB 440 Repeals all existing laws with respect to indigent defense. Redefines “indigent defendant.” Provides for the unified administration of indigent defense services by the state. Ends practice of providing for indigent defense through the local presiding circuit judge, commission, or governing body administering the system. Creates statewide Office of Indigent Defense Services within the Finance Department and indigent defense advisory boards in each judicial circuit.
Arkansas HB 1004 Prohibits payment of attorney’s fees of privately retained attorneys for indigent persons.
Arkansas HB 2207 Provides funding for public defenders may come from a county’s administration of justice, general, public defender, indigent defense, or public defender investigator fund(s), or any other fund authorized by law for that purpose. Requires expenditures comply with an itemized, line-item budget.
Louisiana HB 178 Authorizes Dept. of Children and Family Services to transfer funds appropriated pursuant to existing law to unspecified entities for representation of children and indigent parents in child protection proceedings. Removes require that funds go only to those entities specified in existing law.
Mississippi HB 1302 / SB 2563 Consolidates Office of Capital Defense Counsel, Office of Indigent Appeals and Division of Public Defender Training into Office of State Public Defender. Repeals provision that Circuit Court may appoint local counsel in capital cases at the expense of the Capital Defense Counsel Special Fund.
Texas HB 1754 / SB 170 Creates within judicial branch the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. Transfers all powers and duties of Task Force on Indigent Defense to Commission and abolishes Task Force. Designates Commission a permanent standing committee of the Texas Judicial Council and administratively attached to the Office of Court Administration, but provides commission is to prepare, approve, and submit a Legislative Appropriations Request and maintain a budget structure separate from that of OCA. Establishes membership of governing board of the Commission. Sets sunset date for commission as September 2023. Requires certain indigent defense information to be submitted by November 1st of each odd numbered year. Requires each law school receiving innocence project funding to submit annual reports regarding exonerations in criminal cases. Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure relating to the creation of public defender’s offices. Defines and authorizes local jurisdictions to establish managed assigned counsel programs as strictly a local option that would require both the judges and county commissioners court assent to implement. Repeals the “Indigent Representation Fund”, the court costs for which serve as a revenue stream to the Fair Defense Account, which serves the same purpose.
Texas HB 3323 / SB 1308 Allows for the review of attorneys who are no longer eligible to represent indigent defendants in capital cases due to a single finding of ineffective counsel. Provides determination will be made by the Regional Selection Committee, which includes an administrative law judge, a district judge, a representative from the local bar association, and a board-certified criminal attorney.
Texas HCR 22 (Special Session) Commends the members of the Texas Supreme Court for their actions in support of legal aid services and honors them for their work in promoting access to justice for the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Active/Carried over into 2012
Oklahoma SB 868 Specifies Indigent Defense System is only for indigents who are in custody. Provides a court may appoint legal representation for an indigent who is not in custody, in which case costs for such representation shall be paid from the local court fund.
Oklahoma HB 2175 Restricts use of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System to defendants who are in custody. Provides a definition for “unable to employ counsel”.
Tennessee HB 1225 / SB 1279 Provides that if an attorney, post-conviction defender or district public defender in a criminal case is found to have provided ineffective assistance of counsel, that attorney cannot receive any further state funds for legal services until the attorney obtains continuing education, counseling or training that addresses the reason for the attorney being ineffective.
Tennessee HB 1623 / SB 1574 Removes the requirement that the Executive Director of the District Public Defenders Conference (DPDC) administer the accounts of the judicial branch of government relating to the DPDC; prepare, approve, and submit budget estimates and appropriations necessary for the maintenance and operation of the offices of district public defenders; approve all requisitions for the payment of public moneys appropriated for the maintenance and operation of the judicial branch of government; audit claims, and prepare vouchers for payment; and provide the district public defenders with minimum law libraries.
Approved by one chamber
Louisiana SB 270 Provides 10% of revenue generated from abandoned cars sold by court as result of littering conviction go toward indigent defender board. Approved by full Senate and House Natural Resources and Environment committee. Indefinitely postponed on House floor.
Mississippi SB 2945 Specifies public defender is authorized to assign the duties of all employees of the office without regard to the source of funding for those employees. Approved by full Senate, died in House Judiciary B committee.
Texas SB 1682 Authorizes the creation of a managed assigned counsel program by a locality with written approval of a judge of the juvenile court of a county or county court, statutory county court, or district court trying criminal cases. Approved by full Senate and House Criminal Jurisprudence committee. Died on House floor.
Died in committee
Arkansas HB 2146 Defines crime of “illegal disbursement of funds by a judge”. Makes illegal instances where judge makes payments for services rendered to a public defender, assistant public defender, prosecuting attorney, or deputy prosecuting attorney resulting from the exercise of that person’s official duties.
Arkansas SB 941 Provides public defenders must provide itemized bill with a detailed explanation of services rendered, time spent, and expenses incurred. Renames converts certificates of indigency into affidavits to be created by public defender commission. Increases from $100 to $250 maximum user fee payable to commission.
Arkansas SB 974 Designates public defender commission a criminal justice agency for purposes of access to the Arkansas Crime Information Center.
Mississippi HB 181 Sets hourly payment for indigent defense counsel as 80% of the hourly rate allowed in the Mississippi’s federal courts. Provides judge presiding in case may adjust the total requested payment to counsel in a case if the court finds that the number of hours claimed by counsel in that case is not reasonable.
Mississippi HB 153 Creates District Public Defender Pilot project.
Mississippi HB 978 Provides public defender salaries are to be same as county prosecutors.
Mississippi SB 2971 Authorizes loan forgiveness programs for education loans to encourage law students and other attorneys to choose careers in the area of public interest, including specifically public defenders and civil legal aid attorneys.
Texas HB 1475 Provides for longevity pay for assistant public defenders.
Texas HB 1392 Creates special $95 fee for sale of property at a foreclosure sale to pay for civil legal services to the indigent.
Texas HB 2174 / SB 726 Establishes judicial access and improvement account to provide funding for basic civil legal services, indigent defense, and judicial technical support through certain county service fees and court costs imposed to fund the account. (See also Special Session HB 34 / SB 23)
Texas HB 1918 / SB 1028 Requires a district court judge to appoint one attorney, rather than two, when a capital felony case is filed. Provides in cases where prosecutors do not seek the death penalty a second attorney will not be required to be appointed.