House Study Bill 144 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1relating to payments from the indigent defense fund by
2the state public defender for costs incurred by a privately
3retained attorney representing an indigent person.
4BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  NEW SECTION.  815.1  Costs incurred by a privately
2retained attorney representing an indigent person.
   31.  The court shall not authorize the payment of state
4funds for the costs incurred in the legal representation of an
5indigent person represented by a privately retained attorney
6unless the requirements of this section are satisfied.
   72.  An application for the payment of state funds for the
8costs incurred in the legal representation of an indigent
9person that is submitted by the privately retained attorney
10shall be filed with the court in the county in which the case
11was filed and include all of the following:
   12a.  A copy of the attorney’s fee agreement for the
13representation, including hourly rate, amount of retainer or
14other moneys received, and number of hours of work completed
15by the attorney to date.
   16b.  A showing that the costs are reasonable and necessary for
17the representation of the indigent person in a case for which
18counsel could have been appointed under section 815.10.
   19c.  An itemized accounting of all compensation paid to the
20attorney including the amount of any retainer.
   21d.  The amount of compensation earned by the attorney.
   22e.  Information on any expected additional costs to be
23paid or owed by the indigent person to the attorney for the
24representation.
   25f.  A signed financial affidavit completed by the indigent
26person.
   273.  The privately retained attorney shall submit a copy of
28the application and all attached documents to the state public
29defender.
   304.  The court shall not grant the application and authorize
31all or a portion of the payment to be made from state funds
32unless the court determines, after reviewing the application
33and supporting documents, that all of the following apply:
   34a.  The represented person is indigent and unable to pay for
35the costs sought to be paid.
-1-
   1b.  The costs are reasonable and necessary for the
2representation of the indigent person in a case for which
3counsel could have been appointed under section 815.10.
   4c.  The moneys paid or to be paid to the privately
5retained attorney by or on behalf of the indigent person are
6insufficient to pay all or a portion of the costs sought to be
7paid from state funds.
   8(1)  In determining whether the moneys paid or to be paid to
9the attorney are insufficient for purposes of this paragraph
10“c”, the court shall add the hours previously worked to the
11hours expected to be worked to finish the case and multiply
12that sum by the hourly rate of compensation specified under
13section 815.7.
   14(2)  If the product calculated in subparagraph (1) is greater
15than the moneys paid or to be paid to the attorney by or on
16behalf of the indigent person, the moneys shall be considered
17insufficient to pay all or a portion of the costs sought to be
18paid from state funds.
   19(3)  If the private attorney is retained on a flat fee
20agreement, and a precise record of hours worked is not
21available, the attorney shall provide the court a reasonable
22estimate of the time expended to allow the court to make the
23calculation pursuant to this paragraph “c”.
   245.  Either the privately retained attorney for the indigent
25person or a representative from the office of the state public
26defender may participate in a hearing on the application by
27telephone.
   286.  If the court finds the payment of the costs incurred or
29to be incurred by a privately retained attorney are reasonable
30and necessary, the order of the court shall specify the maximum
31amount of costs which the attorney may incur without further
32court order, and that the actual amount of such costs to be
33allowed are subject to review by the state public defender for
34reasonableness.
   357.  Following entry of an order allowing costs to be incurred
-2-1by a privately retained attorney representing an indigent
2person, the attorney or a claimant referred to in subsection 9
3seeking payment or reimbursement for costs shall submit a claim
4for payment in accordance with the rules of the state public
5defender.
   68.  If the privately retained attorney or claimant referred
7to in subsection 9 seeking payment or reimbursement for costs
8pursuant to this section fails to comply with the requirements
9of this section, the state public defender may deny all or a
10part of the costs requested.
   119.  This section applies to payments to witnesses under
12section 815.4, evaluators, investigators, and certified
13shorthand reporters, and for other costs incurred by a
14privately retained attorney in the legal representation.
   1510.  This section shall not be construed to restrict the
16payment of costs on behalf of indigent persons represented on
17a pro bono basis.
18EXPLANATION
19The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
20the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   21This bill relates to payments from the indigent defense fund
22by the state public defender for costs incurred by a privately
23retained attorney representing an indigent person.
   24The bill establishes a process for the payment of state funds
25to a privately retained attorney for the costs incurred in the
26legal representation of a person who is later determined to be
27indigent.
   28Under the bill, the privately retained attorney shall
29file an application for the payment of state funds with the
30court. The bill requires the application to include a copy
31of the attorney’s fee agreement, a showing that the costs
32are reasonable and necessary, an itemized accounting of all
33compensation paid to the attorney including the amount of any
34retainer, information on any expected additional expense paid
35or owed to the attorney in the case, and a signed financial
-3-1affidavit completed by the represented person.
   2The bill requires a copy of the application to be submitted
3to the state public defender.
   4The bill prohibits the payment of state funds to a privately
5retained attorney unless the court determines that the
6represented person is indigent and unable to pay for the
7expenses sought to be paid by the attorney, the expense of the
8attorney is reasonable and necessary for the representation of
9an indigent person for which counsel could have been appointed,
10and the moneys paid or to be paid by or on behalf of the
11indigent person to the private attorney are insufficient to
12pay all or a portion of the expenses sought to be paid from
13state funds. In determining whether the moneys paid or to be
14paid to the attorney are insufficient, the bill requires the
15court to add the hours previously worked to the hours expected
16to be worked to finish the case and to multiply that sum by the
17hourly rate of compensation specified under Code section 815.7.
18If this calculation is greater than the moneys paid or to be
19paid by or on behalf of the indigent person to the attorney,
20the bill specifies the moneys shall be considered insufficient
21to pay all or a portion of the expenses sought to be paid
22from state funds, and the court may authorize the payment of
23state funds to the extent the moneys paid or to be paid to the
24attorney are insufficient to pay the expenses as calculated
25by the court. If the private attorney is retained on a flat
26fee agreement, and a precise record of hours worked is not
27available, the bill requires the attorney to provide the court
28a reasonable estimate of the time expended to allow the court
29to determine whether state funds must be paid to the attorney.
   30The bill provides that either the attorney for the indigent
31person or a representative of the office of the state public
32defender may participate in a hearing on the application
33by telephone. If the court finds the payment of the costs
34incurred or to be incurred by a privately retained attorney are
35reasonable and necessary, the order of the court shall specify
-4-1the maximum amount of costs which the attorney may incur
2without further court order, and that the actual amount of such
3costs to be allowed are subject to review by the state public
4defender for reasonableness. Following entry of an order
5allowing costs to be incurred by a privately retained attorney
6representing an indigent person, the attorney or claimant
7seeking payment or reimbursement for costs shall submit a claim
8for payment in accordance with the rules of the state public
9defender. If the privately retained attorney or claimant
10seeking payment or reimbursement for such costs fails to comply
11with the requirements of the bill, the state public defender
12may deny all or a part of the costs requested.
   13This process of the payment of state funds established in
14the bill also applies to payments to witnesses, evaluators,
15investigators, and certified shorthand reporters, and for other
16costs incurred in the legal representation. However, nothing
17in the bill should be construed to restrict payment of expenses
18from state funds on behalf on an indigent person represented by
19an attorney on a pro bono basis.
-5-
as/rh