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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

611.17 FINANCIAL INQUIRY; STATEMENTS; CO-PAYMENT; STANDARDS FOR
DISTRICT PUBLIC DEFENSE ELIGIBILITY.
    (a) Each judicial district must screen requests for representation by the district public
defender. A defendant is financially unable to obtain counsel if:
    (1) the defendant, or any dependent of the defendant who resides in the same household as
the defendant, receives means-tested governmental benefits; or
    (2) the defendant, through any combination of liquid assets and current income, would be
unable to pay the reasonable costs charged by private counsel in that judicial district for a defense
of the same matter.
    (b) Upon a request for the appointment of counsel, the court shall make appropriate inquiry
into the financial circumstances of the applicant, who shall submit a financial statement under
oath or affirmation setting forth the applicant's assets and liabilities, including the value of any
real property owned by the applicant, whether homestead or otherwise, less the amount of any
encumbrances on the real property, the source or sources of income, and any other information
required by the court. The applicant shall be under a continuing duty while represented by a
public defender to disclose any changes in the applicant's financial circumstances that might
be relevant to the applicant's eligibility for a public defender. The state public defender shall
furnish appropriate forms for the financial statements. The forms must contain conspicuous notice
of the applicant's continuing duty to disclose to the court changes in the applicant's financial
circumstances. The forms must also contain conspicuous notice of the applicant's obligation to
make a co-payment for the services of the district public defender, as specified under paragraph
(c). The information contained in the statement shall be confidential and for the exclusive use
of the court and the public defender appointed by the court to represent the applicant except for
any prosecution under section 609.48. A refusal to execute the financial statement or produce
financial records constitutes a waiver of the right to the appointment of a public defender. The
court shall not appoint a district public defender to a defendant who is financially able to retain
private counsel but refuses to do so.
    An inquiry to determine financial eligibility of a defendant for the appointment of the district
public defender shall be made whenever possible prior to the court appearance and by such
persons as the court may direct. This inquiry may be combined with the prerelease investigation
provided for in Minnesota Rule of Criminal Procedure 6.02, subdivision 3. In no case shall the
district public defender be required to perform this inquiry or investigate the defendant's assets or
eligibility. The court has the sole duty to conduct a financial inquiry. The inquiry must include
the following:
    (1) the liquidity of real estate assets, including the defendant's homestead;
    (2) any assets that can be readily converted to cash or used to secure a debt;
    (3) the determination of whether the transfer of an asset is voidable as a fraudulent
conveyance; and
    (4) the value of all property transfers occurring on or after the date of the alleged offense.
The burden is on the accused to show that he or she is financially unable to afford counsel.
Defendants who fail to provide information necessary to determine eligibility shall be deemed
ineligible. The court must not appoint the district public defender as advisory counsel.
    (c) Upon disposition of the case, an individual who has received public defender services
shall pay to the court a $28 co-payment for representation provided by a public defender, unless
the co-payment is, or has been, waived by the court.
    The co-payment must be credited to the general fund. If a term of probation is imposed as
a part of an offender's sentence, the co-payment required by this section must not be made a
condition of probation. The co-payment required by this section is a civil obligation and must not
be made a condition of a criminal sentence.
History: 1965 c 869 s 4; 1983 c 359 s 91; 1986 c 444; 1989 c 335 art 1 s 260; 1991 c 345
art 3 s 3; 1993 c 146 art 2 s 19; 1994 c 636 art 11 s 3; 1995 c 226 art 2 s 24; 2002 c 220 art 6
s 13; 1Sp2003 c 2 art 3 s 4; 1Sp2003 c 23 s 6; 2007 c 61 s 4