Legislation Watch: An Act Relative to Indigent Defense Counsel

public defender

Legislation Watch: An Act Relative to Indigent Defense Counsel

Submitted by: Rep. David P. Linsky
Docket number: HD04315 An Act Relative to Indigent Defense Counsel

For updates on this proposed Bill
stay tuned to Rep. David Linsky’s MA State House web page
http://www.malegislature.gov/People/Profile/DPL1

Read & Listen!!!
Atty. Stephanie Soriano-Mills on Radio Boston w/ Rep. David Linsky discussing this proposal
http://radioboston.wbur.org/2012/03/19/reduce-indigent-defense-spending

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 04315 FILED ON: 03/15/2012
HOUSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . No. xxxxx

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
_______________
PRESENTED BY:
David Paul Linsky and Benjamin Swan
_______________
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:
The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the passage of the accompanying bill:
An Act Relative to Indigent Defense Counsel.
_______________
PETITION OF:

NAME:
DISTRICT/ADDRESS:
David Paul Linsky 5th Middlesex
Jennifer E. Benson 37th Middlesex
Kevin J. Kuros 8th Worcester

HOUSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . No. xxxxx
[Pin Slip]

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_______________
In the Year Two Thousand Twelve
_______________

An Act Relative to Indigent Defense Counsel.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Subsection (c) of section 2A of chapter 211D of the General Laws, as appearing in section 112 of chapter 68 of the acts of 2011, is hereby amended by inserting after the words “ chief probation officer” in the fifth sentence the following words: – or his designee.
SECTION 2. Said subsection (c) of said section 2A of said chapter 211D, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in the ninth sentence, the words “and every 6 months thereafter”.
SECTION 3. Said chapter 211D of General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out section 2B and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 2B. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a criminal defendant charged with a misdemeanor or a violation of a municipal ordinance or bylaw, on motion of the Commonwealth, on motion of the defendant, or by the court sua sponte, shall not be appointed counsel if the judge, at arraignment, informs such defendant on the record that, if the defendant is convicted of such offense, his sentence will not include any period of incarceration. For good cause, that judge or another judge of the same court may later revoke such determination on the record and appoint counsel, and on the request such counsel shall be entitled to a continuance to conduct any necessary discovery and to prepare adequately for trial. Any such determination or revocation by a judge shall be endorsed upon the docket of the case.
A criminal defendant charged only with violations of: sections 10, 11, 23, the crimes of operating a motor vehicle negligently or recklessly so as to endanger, leaving the scene of an accident, causing property damage, under section 24 (2)(a), 25, or 34J of chapter 90; sections 34 or 35 of chapter 94C; section 75 of chapter 130; section 34C of chapter 138; section 12 of chapter 140; section 39 of chapter 148; section 218 of chapter 160; section 30 (1), if said property is valued at less than two hundred and fifty dollars, section 30A, clauses (b), (i) and (k) of section 37B, sections 60, if said property is valued at less than two hundred and fifty dollars, sections 87, sections 120, 126A, or 127 of chapter 266, or sections 12, clauses (a) and (b) of sections 53, or clause (a) of sections 53A of chapter 272 shall not be appointed counsel unless said offense requires a mandatory period of incarceration or the Commonwealth notifies the court in writing that it will recommend to the court that the defendant’s sentence, if convicted, will include a period of incarceration. Such notice may be filed at any time prior to trial and the court may then appoint counsel, and on the request such counsel shall be entitled to a continuance to conduct any necessary discovery and to prepare adequately for trial.
SECTION 3. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a committee comprised of the following: 1) the chief counsel of the committee on public counsel services, or his designee; 2) the commissioner of probation, or his designee; 3) the chief justice of the supreme judicial court, or his designee; 4) the chief justice for administration and management, or his designee; 5) the chief justice of the juvenile court, or his/designee. Said committee shall establish a new definition of “indigency” for the purposes of verifying asset information of those individuals for whom counsel shall be appointed by the court. Said committee shall report its findings, together with recommendations for legislation, if any, to the clerks of the house and senate no later than January 1, 2013.
SECTION 4. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a committee comprised of the commissioner of probation, or his designee, the secretary of administration and finance ,or his designee, the chair of the house post audit and oversight committee, or his designee, the chief counsel of the committee for public counsel services, or his designee, the chief justice of the supreme judicial court, or his designee, the chairs of the house and senate committees on the judiciary, or their designees. Said committee shall study which state agency would be best equipped to perform the indigency verification functions as mandated in M.G.L. Chapter 211D. Said committee shall report its findings, together with recommendations for legislation, if any, to the clerks of the house and senate no later than January 1, 2013.

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