SB 89
Abolishes the state public defender system and requires circuit courts to provide legal defense for indigents
LR Number:
Last Action:
1/20/2011 - Second Read and Referred S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Journal Page:
Calendar Position:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2011

Current Bill Summary

SB 89 – This act abolishes the Office of State Public Defender and the Public Defender Commission. Under this act, each circuit court is required to provide legal services to those determined by the court to be eligible for indigent defense.

Each circuit must establish an indigent defense system. A system may include the use of assigned counsel, contract counsel and public defenders. This act defines assigned counsel as private attorneys appointed by the courts on a case by case basis and contract counsel as attorneys, firms, associations, corporations or partnerships under a contract to provide indigent defense. The circuit court may also hire public defenders.

In circuits with two or fewer judges, the presiding circuit judge determines which types of counsel the court will use. In circuits with more than two judges, a majority of the judges makes that determination.

The presiding circuit judge is authorized to administer the indigent defense system, contract with and employ staff, make expenditures and determine compensation with approval from the state courts administrator, adopt rules, enforce liens and accept funds on behalf of the indigent defense system.

The circuit courts may request disbursements from the legal defense and defender fund and the fund may be used to train the personnel of any indigent defense system and other authorized lawful expenses.