2011 Louisiana Laws
TITLE 15 — Criminal procedure
RS 15:148 — Rulemaking; considerations in developing rules
§148. Rulemaking; considerations in developing rules
A. The board shall adopt all rules necessary to implement the provisions of this Part.
B. The rules shall include but not be limited to:
(1) Creating mandatory statewide public defender standards and guidelines that require public defender services to be provided in a manner that is uniformly fair and consistent throughout the state. Those standards and guidelines shall take into consideration all of the following:
(a) Manageable public defender workloads that permit the rendering of competent representation through an empirically based case weighting system that does not count all cases of similar case type equally but rather denotes the actual amount of attorney effort needed to bring a specific case to an appropriate disposition. In determining an appropriate workload monitoring system, the board shall take into consideration all of the following:
(i) The variations in public defense practices and procedures in rural, urban, and suburban jurisdictions.
(ii) Factors such as prosecutorial and judicial processing practices, trial rates, sentencing practices, attorney experience, extent and quality of supervision, and availability of investigative, social worker, and support staff.
(iii) Client enhancers specific to each client such as the presence of mental illness.
(b) Continuity of representation. The board shall adopt standards and guidelines which ensure that each district devises a plan to provide that, to the extent feasible and practicable, the same attorney handles a case from appointment contact through completion at the district level in all cases.
(c) Documentation of communication. The board shall adopt standards and guidelines to ensure that defense attorneys providing public defender services provide documentation of communications with clients regarding the frequency of attorney client communications as required by rules adopted by the board.
(d) Performance supervision protocols. The board shall adopt standards and guidelines to ensure that all defense attorneys providing public defender services undergo periodic review of their work against the performance standards and guidelines in a fair and consistent manner throughout the state, including creating a uniform evaluation protocol.
(e) Performance of public defenders in all assigned public defense cases. The board shall adopt general standards and guidelines that alert defense counsel to courses of action that may be necessary, advisable, or appropriate to a competent defense including performance standards in the nature of job descriptions.
(f) Consistency of standards. The performance standards and guidelines shall be based upon the performance standards originally adopted by the Louisiana Indigent Defense Assistance Board (LIDAB) in 2006 and any subsequent amendments to those standards adopted by the board.
(2) Creating mandatory qualification standards for public defenders that ensure that the public defender services are provided by competent counsel. Those standards shall ensure that public defenders are qualified to handle specific case types which shall take into consideration the level of education and experience that is necessary to competently handle certain cases and case types such as juvenile delinquency, capital, appellate, and other case types in order to provide effective assistance of counsel. Qualification standards shall include all of the following:
(a) The specific training programs that must be completed to qualify for each type of case.
(b) The number of years the public defender has spent in the practice of law in good standing with the Louisiana State Bar Association.
(3) Establishing methods of monitoring and evaluating compliance with the mandatory public defender standards and guidelines and the performance of counsel in order to ensure competent representation of defendants in all courts of the state.
(4) Establishing procedures to handle complaints about public defender performance and to ensure that public defenders, office personnel, and clients are aware of avenues available for bringing a complaint and that office procedures do not conflict with the supervisory jurisdiction of the Louisiana Supreme Court and pursuant to the court's inherent authority provided for in Article V, Section 5 of the Constitution of Louisiana.
(5) Establishing appropriate sanctions for failure to adhere to the mandatory standards and guidelines for the delivery of public defender services.
(6) Establishing a policy of selecting a proportionate number of minority and women lawyers in accordance with the makeup of the general population of the state, to the extent that minority and women lawyers are available and otherwise eligible for selection within each service region in accordance with law. Any citizen of majority age shall have a cause of action to enjoin the activities of the board for failure to comply with this provision.
(7) Establishing policies and procedures for ensuring that cases are handled according to the Rules of Professional Conduct.
(8) Establishing policies and procedures for handling conflict of interest cases and overflow cases when workload standards which are established by rules of the board are breached.
(9) Establishing policies and procedures to ensure that detailed expenditure and workload data is collected, recorded, and reported to support strategic planning efforts for the system.
(10) Creating separate performance standards and guidelines for attorney performance in capital case representation, juvenile delinquency, appellate, and any other subspecialties of criminal defense practice as well as children in need of care cases determined to be feasible, practicable, and appropriate by the board.
(11) Ensuring data, including workload, is collected and maintained in a uniform and timely manner throughout the state to allow the board sound data to support resource needs.
(12) Providing for minimum salary and compensation standards for attorney, investigator, paraprofessional, and any and all other staff necessary for the adequate defense of indigent defendants in criminal courts and comparable to other positions of similar stature throughout the state.
(13) Establishing processes and procedures to ensure that when a case that is assigned presents a conflict of interest for a public defender, the conflict is identified and handled appropriately and ethically.
(14) Establishing processes and procedures to ensure that board and contract personnel use information technology and workload management systems so that detailed expenditure and workload data is accurately collected, recorded, and reported.
(15) Establishing administrative salary ranges for compensation of attorneys delivering public defender services throughout the state so that compensation is based on objective policymaking, including years of service, nature of the work and workload, and in consideration of variations in public defense practices and procedures in rural, urban, and suburban districts as well as prosecutorial and judicial processing practices, trial rates, sentencing practices, and attorney experience.
C. All rules shall be adopted pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act and shall be subject to legislative oversight by the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice and the Senate Committee on Judiciary C.
Added by Acts 1976, No. 653, §1; Acts 1987, No. 920, §1; Acts 2005, No. 343, §1; Acts 2007, No. 307, §1; Acts 2008, No. 220, §6, eff. June 14, 2008.
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