(a) The State Board of Public Defense 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 including:
(1) four attorneys admitted to the practice of law, well acquainted with the defense of persons accused of crime, but not employed as prosecutors, appointed by the Supreme Court; and
(2) three public members appointed by the governor.
The appointing authorities may not appoint a person who is a judge to be a member of the State Board of Public Defense, other than as a member of the ad hoc Board of Public Defense.
(b) All members shall demonstrate an interest in maintaining a high quality, independent defense system for those who are unable to obtain adequate representation. Appointments to the board shall include qualified women and members of minority groups. At least three members of the board shall be from judicial districts other than the First, Second, Fourth, and Tenth Judicial Districts. 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 a nine-member ad hoc board when considering the appointment of district public defenders under section 611.26, subdivision 2. The terms of chief district public defenders currently serving shall terminate in accordance with the staggered term schedule set forth in section 611.26, subdivision 2.
The State Board of Public Defense, with the advice of the state public defender, shall 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 State Board of Public Defense. The chief administrator need not be licensed to practice law. The chief 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) present to the board and the state public defender plans, studies, and reports prepared for the board's and the state public defender's purposes and recommend to the board and the state public defender for adoption measures necessary to enforce or carry out the powers and duties of the board and the state public defender, or to efficiently administer the affairs of the board and the state public defender;
(3) 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;
(4) recommend to the board the adoption of rules and regulations necessary for the efficient operation of the board and its functions; and
(5) perform other duties prescribed by the board and the state public defender.
(a) The board shall approve and recommend to the legislature a budget for the board, the office of state public defender, the judicial district public defenders, and the public defense corporations.
(b) The board shall establish procedures for distribution of state funding under this chapter to the state and district public defenders and to the public defense corporations.
(c) The state public defender with the approval of 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 independent, competent, and efficient representation of clients whose cases present conflicts of interest, in both the trial and appellate courts.
(d) 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.
In no event shall the board or its members interfere with the discretion, judgment or zealous advocacy of counsel in their handling of individual cases as a part of the judicial branch of government.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes