2018 Louisiana Laws
TITLE 15 - Criminal Procedure
RS 15:164 - Regional defense service centers
§164. Regional defense service centers
A. Upon approval of the board, any district public defender may contract with one or more other district public defenders for the establishment of a regional defense service center. A district public defender may enter into only one contract for a regional center in a particular field of practice.
B. As used in this Section, the term "regional defense service center" means:
(1) A regional appellate resource center.
(2) A regional death penalty center.
(3) A regional juvenile defense center.
C.(1) A regional defense service center may be granted authority to contract with counsel for defense at trial in the district court for defendants charged with capital offenses, for appeals in noncapital cases and in capital cases in which a sentence of life imprisonment was imposed, and for representation of juveniles in juvenile courts and in all other courts with juvenile jurisdiction. The center may also contract for other specific functions other than appeals and post-conviction representation in capital cases in which the death penalty was imposed, and for the operation of an office, library, and other reasonably necessary services and authority as the contracting boards deem appropriate.
(2) A regional death penalty center may retain a supervising attorney or chief defender, whose job description and compensation shall be specifically set out in the contract by the districts which establishes the regional defense service center. No attorney with less than five years' criminal trial practice shall serve as lead counsel in any death penalty case assigned to the regional death penalty center.
(3) A regional defense service center may apply for grants from any source of funding for the center's operation. The funds from such grants shall belong to the regional center.
D. A contract among district indigent defender boards shall provide for adequate supervision of the regional defense service center established, with periodic reports to each of the contracting boards, at least every six months, regarding the following:
(1) Information on the center's caseload and the status of each case.
(2) Receipts and disbursements.
(3) Comparison of budget to actual expenses.
(4) Assessment of the effectiveness of the center.
E.(1) The contract establishing a regional defense service center shall further provide for the specifics of contracts with attorneys, the method of staffing, and the contract amount. If a center is intended to retain full-time counsel, that condition shall be specified in the contract establishing the center.
(2) Regional defense service centers shall operate on a calendar year budget and shall be subject to the rules and regulations of the legislative auditor.
(3) A regional defense service center shall have an established caseload limit beyond which counsel at the center may decline to provide representation in its assigned area of criminal defense.
(4) The contract for a regional defense service center shall provide for contribution by the contracting districts for a period not more than five nor less than three calendar years, which commitment shall be binding on the contracting boards. The basis of the contribution may be any rational basis, including population, caseload, or other criteria agreed to by the respective boards. The contracting boards shall be required by the contract to contribute to the regional service center for a period of not less than three nor more than five years, and the contract shall be noncancellable.
F.(1) The purpose of regional defense service centers shall be to improve services and reduce cost by creating a regional defense service center for appellate work, death penalty defense, juvenile representation, and such other specific related purposes as the districts involved shall define by the contract.
(2) Nothing herein shall be interpreted as creating a duty on the part of such regional defense service centers to do any act, or provide any service, beyond that contemplated in the establishment of the center by the district indigent defender boards and present jurisprudence.
Acts 2007, No. 307, §1.