13B.4  Duties and powers of state public defender.

1.  The state public defender shall coordinate the provision of legal representation of all indigents under arrest or charged with a crime, seeking postconviction relief, against whom a contempt action is pending, in proceedings under chapter 229A, on appeal in criminal cases, on appeal in proceedings to obtain postconviction relief when ordered to do so by the district court in which the judgment or order was issued, and on a reopening of a sentence proceeding, and may provide for the representation of indigents in proceedings instituted pursuant to chapter 908. The state public defender shall not engage in the private practice of law.

2.  The state public defender shall file with the clerk of the district court in each county served by a public defender a designation of which local public defender office shall receive notice of appointment of cases. Except as otherwise provided, in each county in which the state public defender files such designation, the state public defender or its designee shall be appointed by the court to represent all eligible indigents, in all of the cases and proceedings specified under subsection 1. The appointment shall not be made if the state public defender notifies the court that the local public defender will not provide legal representation in cases as identified in the designation by the state public defender.

3.  The state public defender may contract with persons admitted to practice law in this state for the provision of legal services to indigent persons.

4. a.  The state public defender shall establish fee limitations for particular categories of cases. The fee limitations shall be reviewed at least every three years. In establishing and reviewing the fee limitations, the state public defender shall consider public input during the establishment and review process, and any available information regarding ordinary and customary charges for like services; the number of cases in which legal services to indigents are anticipated; the seriousness of the charge; an appropriate allocation of resources among the types of cases; experience with existing hourly rates, claims, and fee limitations; and any other factors determined to be relevant.

b.  The state public defender shall establish a procedure for the submission of all claims for payment of indigent defense costs, including the submission of interim claims in appropriate cases.

c.  The state public defender may review any claim for payment of indigent defense costs and may take any of the following actions:

(1)  If the charges are appropriate and reasonable, approve the claim for payment.

(2)  Deny the claim, if the claim is not timely filed.

(3)  Request additional information or return the claim to the attorney, if the claim is incomplete.

(4)  If any portion of the claim is excessive, notify the attorney that the claim is excessive and will be reduced to an amount which is not excessive, and reduce and approve the balance of the claim.

d.  Notwithstanding chapter 17A, the attorney may seek review of any action or intended action taken pursuant to paragraph "c" by filing a motion with the court with jurisdiction over the original appointment for review. The motion must be filed within twenty days of any action taken by the state public defender. The attorney shall have the burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount of compensation and expenses is reasonable and necessary to competently represent the client. The filing of a motion shall not delay the payment of the amount specified by the state public defender pursuant to this subsection.

5.  If any portion of the claim is not payable under the attorney's appointment, the state public defender shall deny those portions of the claim that are not payable and approve the remainder of the claim.

Notwithstanding chapter 17A, an attorney whose claim for compensation is denied may seek review of the action of the state public defender by filing a motion with the court with jurisdiction over the original appointment. The motion must be filed within thirty days of the action of the state public defender. The type of review and relief the court may provide shall be limited to the review and relief specified in chapter 17A. The filing of a motion shall not delay the payment of the amount approved by the state public defender.

6.  The state public defender is authorized to contract with county attorneys to provide collection services related to court-ordered indigent defense restitution of court-appointed attorney fees or the expense of a public defender.

7.  The state public defender shall report in writing to the general assembly by January 20 of each year regarding any funds recouped or collected for court-appointed attorney fees or expenses of a public defender pursuant to section 331.756, subsection 5, or section 602.8107 during the previous calendar year.

8.  The state public defender shall adopt rules, as necessary, pursuant to chapter 17A to administer this chapter and chapter 815.

Section History: Early form

  [81 Acts, ch 23, § 4, 8]

Section History: Recent form

  85 Acts, ch 36, §1; 88 Acts, ch 1161, §4; 89 Acts, ch 51, §1; 91 Acts, ch 268, §411, 439; 92 Acts, ch 1242, §18; 93 Acts, ch 175, §15; 94 Acts, ch 1107, §20; 94 Acts, ch 1187, §17; 96 Acts, ch 1040, §2; 99 Acts, ch 12, §1; 99 Acts, ch 135, §3-6; 99 Acts, ch 208, §46; 2000 Acts, ch 1154, §3

Internal References

  Referred to in § 232.141, 815.7, 815.10


  Intent that state public defender provide for defense of major felony case defendants by public defenders on regional basis; 91 Acts, ch 268, § 440

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