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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1987 

                        CHAPTER 250-S.F.No. 1345 
           An act relating to the judiciary; public defenders; 
          providing for membership of the state board of public 
          defense; providing for appointment of a chief 
          administrator; requiring the state board of public 
          defense to adopt standards governing district public 
          defender offices; authorizing the state board of 
          public defense to fix the salary of the state public 
          defenders; requiring the state public defender to 
          provide training for state and district public 
          defenders, appointed counsel, and legal service 
          corporation attorneys; providing that compensation of 
          district public defenders may not exceed compensation 
          of county attorneys; allowing representation of 
          indigents by public defender before formal 
          appointment; amending Minnesota Statutes 1986, 
          sections 611.215, subdivisions 1 and 2, and by adding 
          a subdivision; 611.216, subdivisions 1, 2, and 3; 
          611.23; 611.24; 611.25; 611.26, subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 
          4, and 6; and 611.27, subdivisions 1 and 2; proposing 
          coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 611; 
          repealing Minnesota Statutes 1986, sections 611.22; 
          and 611.26, subdivisions 5 and 8. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  [611.214] [APPLICABILITY.] 
    Sections 611.26 and 611.27 do not apply to Hennepin county 
or to Ramsey county. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.215, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read:  
    Subdivision 1.  [CREATION STRUCTURE; MEMBERSHIP.] There is 
created a (a) The state board of public defense as is a part of, 
but is not subject to the administrative control of, the 
judicial branch of government.  The state board of public 
defense shall consist of seven members appointed by the supreme 
court including: 
    (a) (1) a district, county or county municipal court trial 
judge appointed by the supreme court;  
    (b) (2) four attorneys admitted to the practice of law, 
well acquainted with the defense of persons accused of crime, 
but not publicly employed as a prosecutor or defense counsel 
prosecutors, appointed by the supreme court; and 
    (c) (3) two public members appointed by the governor.  
    (b) All members shall demonstrate an interest in 
maintaining a high quality, independent defense system for those 
who are unable to obtain adequate representation.  In making the 
four appointments of attorneys at law, the supreme court shall 
first consider a list of at least three nominees for each 
position submitted to the supreme court by the state bar 
association.  The terms, compensation and removal of members 
shall be as provided in section 15.0575.  The chair shall be 
elected by the members from among the membership for a term of 
two years.  
     (c) In addition, the state board of public defense shall 
consist of an 11-member ad hoc board when considering the 
appointment of district public defenders under section 611.26, 
subdivision 2.  The terms of district public defenders currently 
serving shall terminate in accordance with the staggered term 
schedule set forth in section 611.26, subdivision 2. 
    Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.215, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
    Subd. 1a.  [CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR.] The chair of the state 
board of public defense may, subject to the approval of the 
board, appoint a chief administrator who must be chosen solely 
on the basis of training, experience, and other qualifications, 
and who will serve at the pleasure of the board.  The chief 
administrator need not be licensed to practice law.  The 
administrator shall attend all meetings of the board, but may 
not vote, and shall: 
     (1) enforce all resolutions, rules, regulations, or orders 
of the board;  
    (2) appoint and remove all subordinate officers and regular 
employees of the board upon the basis of merit and fitness, 
subject to the provisions of a personnel code adopted by the 
board;  
    (3) present to the board plans, studies, and reports 
prepared for board purposes and recommend to the board for 
adoption measures necessary to enforce or carry out the powers 
and duties of the board, or to efficiently administer the 
affairs of the board; 
    (4) keep the board fully advised as to its financial 
condition, and prepare and submit to the board its annual budget 
and other financial information as it may request; 
    (5) recommend to the board the adoption of rules and 
regulations necessary for the efficient operation of the board 
and its functions; and 
    (6) perform other duties prescribed by the board. 
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.215, 
subdivision 2, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 2.  [DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.] (a) The state 
board of public defense shall have those duties and 
responsibilities imposed upon it by this chapter appoint the 
state public defender, who serves full-time for a term of four 
years.  The board must prepare an annual report to the governor, 
the legislature, and the supreme court on the operation of the 
state public defender's office, district defender systems, and 
appointed counsel systems.  The board shall approve and 
recommend to the legislature a budget for the board, the office 
of state public defender, and the public defense corporations. 
The board shall establish procedures for distribution of state 
funding under this chapter to the state and district public 
defenders, including Hennepin and Ramsey county public 
defenders, and to the public defense corporations. 
    (b) The board shall establish standards for the offices of 
the state and district public defenders and for the conduct of 
all appointed counsel systems.  The standards must include, but 
are not limited to: 
    (1) standards needed to maintain and operate an office of 
public defender including requirements regarding the 
qualifications, training, and size of the legal and supporting 
staff for a public defender or appointed counsel system; 
    (2) standards for public defender caseloads; 
    (3) standards and procedures for the eligibility for 
appointment, assessment and collection of the costs for legal 
representation provided by public defenders or appointed counsel;
    (4) standards for contracts between a board of county 
commissioners and a county public defender system for the legal 
representation of indigent persons; 
    (5) standards prescribing minimum qualifications of counsel 
appointed under the board's authority or by the courts; and 
     (6) standards ensuring the economical and efficient 
delivery of legal services, including alternatives to the 
present geographic boundaries of the public defender districts. 
    The board may require the reporting of statistical data, 
budget information, and other cost factors by the state and 
district public defenders and appointed counsel systems. 
    Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.216, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read:  
    Subdivision 1.  [ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS.] The board of public 
defense shall establish procedures for public defense 
corporations based in this state to apply for funding by the 
legislature.  The applications must be submitted to the board. 
The board must review and prioritize them and include a 
recommended funding level for each corporation in the budget 
request the board submits to the legislature.  Money 
appropriated to provide criminal and juvenile defense to 
indigent individuals must be distributed by the board of public 
defense to the nonprofit criminal and juvenile defense 
corporations included in the board's budget request or otherwise 
designated by law.  Money may not be disbursed to a corporation 
in the Leech Lake reservation area or the White Earth 
reservation area without prior approval by the respective 
reservation business committee tribal council.  Within its 
geographic area of responsibility each A corporation shall may 
accept cases involving felony, gross misdemeanor, and 
misdemeanor charges, and juvenile cases if financial eligibility 
standards are met, unless there is a legal or ethical reason for 
rejecting a case.  A corporation may accept cases arising 
outside its geographic area of responsibility, as appropriate.  
Each corporation, in order to ensure broad support, shall 
provide matching money received from nonstate sources, which may 
include money or in-kind contribution from federal agencies, 
local governments, private agencies, and community groups, equal 
to ten percent of its state appropriation.  The board of public 
defense shall give notice 30 days in advance and conduct a 
hearing if it has reasonable grounds to believe money 
appropriated for this purpose is being improperly used, or if it 
has reasonable cause to believe criminal and juvenile defense of 
proper quality is not being supplied.  Payment must cease from 
the date of notice until either the board of public defense 
determines that the money appropriated will be properly handled, 
or the board of public defense determines that criminal and 
juvenile defense of proper quality will be provided.  A 
participating corporation may give notice at any time of its 
withdrawal from this program of financial assistance. 
    Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.216, 
subdivision 2, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 2.  [DISCRIMINATION; PENALTY.] An employee, 
administrator, or officer, contractor, or agent of a recipient 
of the money provided by this section who discriminates on the 
basis of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, or creed 
is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.  
    Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.216, 
subdivision 3, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 3.  [REPORT.] Each corporation shall submit to the 
board of public defense twice each year a report on a form 
supplied by the council reports showing, at a minimum, the 
number of clients served, the number of charges brought, the 
number of cases of each kind, such as felonies, gross 
misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and juvenile delinquencies, the 
number of dispositions of each kind, such as jury trials, court 
trials, plea bargains guilty pleas, and dismissals, and the 
number of court appearances, and financial data.  This 
information must be summarized for each corporation in the 
budget documents submitted to the legislature.  
    Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.23, is 
amended to read:  
    611.23 [OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER; APPOINTMENT; 
SALARY.] 
    The office of state public defender is under the 
supervision of the state board of public defense.  The state 
public defender shall be appointed by the state board of public 
defense for a term of four years, except as otherwise 
provided herein in this section, and until a successor is 
appointed and qualified.  The state public defender shall be a 
full-time qualified attorney, licensed to practice law in this 
state, serve in the unclassified service of the state, and be 
removed only for cause by the appointing authority.  Vacancies 
in the office shall be filled by the appointing authority for 
the unexpired term.  The salary of the state public defender 
shall be fixed by law the state board of public defense but must 
not exceed the salary of the chief deputy attorney general.  
Terms of the state public defender shall commence on January 1.  
The state public defender shall devote full time to the 
performance of duties and shall not engage in the general 
practice of law.  
    Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.24, is 
amended to read:  
    611.24 [ORGANIZATION OF OFFICE; ASSISTANTS.] 
    The state public defender, subject to the limitations 
imposed by, and the supervision of, the state board of public 
defense, may employ or retain assistant state public defenders 
and other personnel as may be necessary to discharge the 
function of the office.  The commissioner of administration 
shall provide the office with suitable quarters outside the 
capitol building.  An assistant public defender shall be a 
qualified attorney, licensed to practice law in this state, 
serve in the unclassified service of the state if employed, and 
serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority at a salary or 
retainer fee not to exceed reasonable compensation for 
comparable services performed for other governmental agencies or 
departments.  Retained or part-time employed assistant state 
public defenders may engage in the general practice of law.  
    Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.25, is 
amended to read:  
    611.25 [POWERS; DUTIES; LIMITATIONS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [REPRESENTATION.] The state public defender 
shall represent, without charge, a defendant or other person 
appealing from a conviction or pursuing a post conviction 
proceeding after the time for appeal has expired when the state 
public defender is directed to do so by a judge of the district 
court, of the court of appeals or of the supreme court.  The 
state public defender shall represent any other person, who is 
financially unable to obtain counsel, when directed to do so by 
the supreme court or the court of appeals, except that the state 
public defender shall not represent a person in any action or 
proceeding in which a party is seeking a monetary judgment, 
recovery or award.  When requested by a district public defender 
or appointed counsel, the state public defender may assist a the 
district public defender, appointed counsel, or an organization 
designated in section 611.216 in the performance of duties when 
the district public defender requests, including trial 
representation in matters involving legal conflicts of interest 
or other special circumstances, and assistance with legal 
research and brief preparation.  Whenever When the state public 
defender is directed by a court to represent any a defendant or 
other person, with the approval of the court the state public 
defender may, with the court's approval, assign the 
representation to any district public defender.  
    Subd. 2.  [GENERAL DUTIES.] The state public defender also 
shall supervise design and conduct programs, with the approval 
of the board of public defense, for the training of all state 
and district public defenders, and may establish a training 
course for such purpose appointed counsel, and attorneys for 
legal service corporations funded in section 611.216.  
    Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.26, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read:  
    Subdivision 1.  A majority of the judges of any judicial 
district not subject to the provisions of section 611.12, except 
the second district, may, by written order filed with the state 
board of public defense, establish in the district the public 
defender system provided in Laws 1965, chapter 869.  The order 
shall be effective 30 days after its filing.  Notwithstanding 
this subdivision the state public defender may assist the public 
defenders of the second and fourth judicial districts at their 
request.  Each judicial district shall have a district public 
defender.  Public defenders and appointed counsel may request 
the assistance of the state public defender as provided in 
section 611.25, subdivision 1.  
    Sec. 12.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.26, 
subdivision 2, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 2.  Upon the filing of an order pursuant to 
subdivision 1 The state board of public defense shall appoint a 
district public defender after receiving recommendations from 
the judges of the district.  When appointing a district public 
defender, the state board of public defense membership shall be 
increased to include two judges of the district and two county 
commissioners of the counties within the district.  The 
additional members shall serve only in the capacity of selecting 
the district public defender.  The judges within the district 
shall elect their two ad hoc members.  The two county 
commissioners within the district shall be selected by the 
county boards of the counties within the district.  The ad hoc 
state board of public defense shall appoint a district public 
defender only after requesting and giving reasonable time to 
receive any recommendations from the public, the local bar 
association, the judges of the district, and the county 
commissioners within the district.  Each district public 
defender shall be a qualified attorney, licensed to practice law 
in this state.  The district public defender shall be appointed 
for a term of four years, beginning August 1, pursuant to the 
following staggered term schedule:  (1) in 1987, the third and 
eighth districts; (2) in 1988, the first and tenth districts; 
(3) in 1989, the fifth and ninth districts; and (4) in 1990, the 
sixth and seventh districts.  The district public defender 
defenders shall serve for staggered four year terms and may be 
removed for cause upon the order of the state board of public 
defense.  Vacancies in the office shall be filled by the 
appointing authority for the unexpired term.  
    Sec. 13.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.26, 
subdivision 3, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 3.  The compensation of the district public defender 
for each judicial district shall be set by the board of public 
defense at a specified sum per month or an hourly or per diem 
basis.  The compensation of each assistant district public 
defender shall be set by the district public defender with the 
approval of the board of public defense.  The compensation for 
district public defenders may not exceed the prevailing 
compensation for county attorneys within the district, and the 
compensation for assistant district public defenders may not 
exceed the prevailing compensation for assistant county 
attorneys within the district.  To assist the board of public 
defense in determining prevailing compensation under this 
subdivision, counties shall include in their review and comment 
on proposed district public defender budgets information on the 
compensation of county attorneys, including salaries and 
benefits, rent, secretarial staff, and other pertinent budget 
data.  For purposes of this subdivision, compensation means 
salaries, cash payments, and employee benefits including paid 
time off and group insurance benefits, and other direct and 
indirect items of compensation including the value of office 
space provided by the employer. 
    Sec. 14.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.26, 
subdivision 4, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 4.  A district public defender may shall appoint 
assistants, after receiving recommendations from the judges of 
the district, each of whom shall be a who are qualified 
attorney, attorneys licensed to practice law in this state, and 
other staff as the district public defender finds prudent and 
necessary subject to the approval of the standards adopted by 
the state board of public defense and the provisions of this 
section.  Assistant district public defenders must be appointed 
to ensure broad geographic representation and caseload 
distribution within the district.  Each assistant district 
public defender shall serve serves at the pleasure of the 
district public defender.  
    Sec. 15.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.26, 
subdivision 6, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 6.  The district public defender shall represent, 
without charge, a defendant or other person charged with a 
felony or a gross misdemeanor when so directed by the district 
court. 
    Sec. 16.  [611.262] [REPRESENTATION BEFORE APPOINTMENT.] 
    A district public defender or appointed assistant may, on 
request of a peace officer, a defendant, suspect, or other 
person, represent or consult with a person before formal 
appointment if there is a substantial factual basis to believe 
the person is indigent. 
    Sec. 17.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.27, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read:  
    Subdivision 1.  (a) The compensation and total compensation 
and expenses, including office equipment and supplies, of the 
district public defender are to be paid by the county or 
counties comprising the judicial district and in conformity with 
the following:. 
    (b) A district public defender shall annually submit a 
comprehensive budget to the state board of public defense.  The 
budget shall be in compliance with standards and forms required 
by the board and must, at a minimum, include detailed 
substantiation as to all revenues and expenditures.  The 
district public defender shall, at times and in the form 
required by the board, submit reports to the board concerning 
its operations, including the number of cases handled and funds 
expended for these services. 
    (1) Within ten days after a district public defender or an 
assistant district public defender is appointed and on or before 
July 1 of each year thereafter, the appointing authority 
district public defender shall certify to the district judges of 
the respective judicial districts state board of public defense 
the compensation which that has been set for each such district 
public defender and each such recommended for the assistant.  
    (c) The state board of public defense shall transmit the 
proposed budget of each district public defender to the 
respective district court administrators and county budget 
officers for comment before the board's final approval of the 
budget.  (2) Immediately thereafter, the judges of such district 
The board shall determine and certify to the respective county 
boards a final comprehensive budget for the office of the 
district public defender including all salaries, expenses, and 
that includes office equipment and supplies all 
expenses.  Suitable office space shall be provided where 
available in publicly owned buildings in a location within the 
district selected by such judges.  If no such space is 
available, the judges shall include in the budget a reasonable 
allowance for office rental which shall be in addition to the 
district public defender's compensation.  Except in the second 
and fourth judicial districts, the district judges of the 
judicial district After the board determines the allocation of 
the state funds authorized pursuant to paragraph (e), the board 
shall apportion the compensation expenses of such the district 
public defenders in their respective judicial districts among 
the several counties and each county shall be required by such 
order to pay the specific amounts thereof its share in monthly 
installments.  The specified amount of the compensation which 
each county shall pay shall be such county share is the 
proportion of the whole compensation as total expenses that the 
population in such the county bears to the total population in 
the district as set forth in determined by the last federal 
census.  If the district public defender or an assistant 
district public defender is temporarily transferred to some a 
county not situated in that public defender's judicial district, 
said county shall pay the proportionate part of that public 
defender's compensation expenses for the services performed in 
said county.  
    (3) (d) Reimbursement for actual and necessary travel 
expenses in the conduct of the office of the district public 
defender shall be charged to either (1) the general expenses of 
the office, (2) the general expenses of the district for which 
the expenses were incurred if outside the district, or (3) the 
office of the state public defender if the services were 
rendered for that office. 
    (e) Money appropriated to the state board of public defense 
and the public defender must be spent with the approval of the 
state board of public defense for the board's administration and 
for the state public defender and public defense corporations in 
amounts determined by the board.  Funds may also be distributed 
by the state board of public defense to district public 
defenders including those in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.  In 
making distributions to district public defenders, priority must 
be given, to the extent feasible and reasonable, to those 
districts having the greatest number of felonies and gross 
misdemeanors, and to those districts having the greatest number 
of distressed counties designated under section 297A.257.  The 
board shall further consider each district's number of 
dispositions, such as jury trials, court trials and guilty 
pleas, the number of court appearances, and other trial-related 
financial data, and any special needs of districts organized in 
the calendar year 1987.  
    Sec. 18.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 611.27, 
subdivision 2, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 2.  The judges of the judicial district by order 
state board of public defense, after consultation with the 
county boards, shall: (1) designate the county officials of one 
or more counties within the district to handle the funds for the 
office of district public defender and provide that charges pay 
the expenses of the district public defender.  The county share 
assessed under subdivision 1 against each county of the district 
shall must be paid to the county treasurer of such the 
designated county who shall be responsible for the payment of 
the expenses of the office of district public defender.  
The order board may provide for reimbursement of reimburse the 
designated counties so designated for extra services costs 
incurred.  (2) The board must provide for a revolving fund in 
the custody of the officials of the designated county designated 
in subdivision 2(1) into which revolving fund each county shall 
must pay an initial deposit and its respective share of the 
expenses of the office of district public defender and from 
which the expenses of said office shall be paid in the manner 
provided in Laws 1965, chapter 869.  
    Sec. 19.  [COMPLEMENT.] 
    The complement of the state board of public defense is 
increased by one position in the unclassified service. 
    Sec. 20.  [REPEALER.] 
    Minnesota Statutes 1986, sections 611.22 and 611.26, 
subdivisions 5 and 8, are repealed. 
    Sec. 21.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
    This act is effective the day following final enactment. 
    Approved May 26, 1987