The purpose of this section is to encourage qualified individuals to enter and continue employment as prosecutors and public defenders.
In this section:
The term "prosecutor" means a full-time employee of a State or unit of local government who—
(A) is continually licensed to practice law; and
(2) Public defender
(B) prosecutes criminal or juvenile delinquency cases at the State or unit of local government level (including supervision, education, or training of other persons prosecuting such cases).
The term "public defender" means an attorney who—
(A) is continually licensed to practice law; and
(i) a full-time employee of a State or unit of local government who provides legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases (including supervision, education, or training of other persons providing such representation);
(ii) a full-time employee of a nonprofit organization operating under a contract with a State or unit of local government, who devotes substantially all of the employee's full-time employment to providing legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases (including supervision, education, or training of other persons providing such representation); or
(3) Student loan
(A) In general
(iii) employed as a full-time Federal defender attorney in a defender organization established pursuant to subsection (g) of section 3006A of title 18 that provides legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases.
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the term "student loan" means—
(i) a loan made, insured, or guaranteed under part B of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1071 et seq.);
(ii) a loan made under part D or E of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087a et seq. and 1087aa et seq.); and
(B) Exclusion of parent PLUS loans
(iii) a loan made under section 428C or 455(g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078–3 and 1087e(g)).
The term "student loan" does not include any of the following loans:
(i) A loan made to the parents of a dependent student under section 428B of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078–2).
(ii) A Federal Direct PLUS Loan made to the parents of a dependent student.
(c) Program authorized
(iii) A loan made under section 428C or 455(g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078–3 and 1087e(g)) to the extent that such loan was used to repay a loan described in clause (i) or (ii).
The Attorney General shall establish a program by which the Department of Justice shall assume the obligation to repay a student loan, by direct payments on behalf of a borrower to the holder of such loan, in accordance with subsection (d), for any borrower who—
(1) is employed as a prosecutor or public defender; and
(d) Terms of agreement
(1) In general
(2) is not in default on a loan for which the borrower seeks forgiveness.
To be eligible to receive repayment benefits under subsection (c), a borrower shall enter into a written agreement that specifies that—
(A) the borrower will remain employed as a prosecutor or public defender for a required period of service of not less than three years, unless involuntarily separated from that employment;
(B) if the borrower is involuntarily separated from employment on account of misconduct, or voluntarily separates from employment, before the end of the period specified in the agreement, the borrower will repay the Attorney General the amount of any benefits received by such employee under this section;
(C) if the borrower is required to repay an amount to the Attorney General under subparagraph (B) and fails to repay such amount, a sum equal to that amount shall be recoverable by the Federal Government from the employee (or such employee's estate, if applicable) by such methods as are provided by law for the recovery of amounts owed to the Federal Government;
(D) the Attorney General may waive, in whole or in part, a right of recovery under this subsection if it is shown that recovery would be against equity and good conscience or against the public interest; and
(A) In general
(E) the Attorney General shall make student loan payments under this section for the period of the agreement, subject to the availability of appropriations.
Any amount repaid by, or recovered from, an individual or the estate of an individual under this subsection shall be credited to the appropriation account from which the amount involved was originally paid.
(A) Student loan payment amount
Any amount credited under subparagraph (A) shall be merged with other sums in such account and shall be available for the same purposes and period, and subject to the same limitations, if any, as the sums with which the amount was merged.
Student loan repayments made by the Attorney General under this section shall be made subject to such terms, limitations, or conditions as may be mutually agreed upon by the borrower and the Attorney General in an agreement under paragraph (1), except that the amount paid by the Attorney General under this section shall not exceed—
(i) $10,000 for any borrower in any calendar year; or
(B) Beginning of payments
(ii) an aggregate total of $60,000 in the case of any borrower.
(e) Additional agreements
(1) In general
Nothing in this section shall authorize the Attorney General to pay any amount to reimburse a borrower for any repayments made by such borrower prior to the date on which the Attorney General entered into an agreement with the borrower under this subsection.
On completion of the required period of service under an agreement under subsection (d), the borrower and the Attorney General may, subject to paragraph (2), enter into an additional agreement in accordance with subsection (d).
(f) Award basis; priority
(1) Award basis
An agreement entered into under paragraph (1) may require the borrower to remain employed as a prosecutor or public defender for less than three years.
Subject to paragraph (2), the Attorney General shall provide repayment benefits under this section—
(A) giving priority to borrowers who have the least ability to repay their loans, except that the Attorney General shall determine a fair allocation of repayment benefits among prosecutors and public defenders, and among employing entities nationwide; and
(B) subject to the availability of appropriations.
The Attorney General shall give priority in providing repayment benefits under this section in any fiscal year to a borrower who—
(A) received repayment benefits under this section during the preceding fiscal year; and
(B) has completed less than three years of the first required period of service specified for the borrower in an agreement entered into under subsection (d).
The Attorney General is authorized to issue such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.
(h) Report by Inspector General
Not later than three years after August 14, 2008, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall submit to Congress a report on—
(1) the cost of the program authorized under this section; and
(i) GAO study
(2) the impact of such program on the hiring and retention of prosecutors and public defenders.
Not later than one year after August 14, 2008, the Comptroller General shall conduct a study of, and report to Congress on, the impact that law school accreditation requirements and other factors have on the costs of law school and student access to law school, including the impact of such requirements on racial and ethnic minorities.
(j) Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $25,000,000 for fiscal year 2009 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the five succeeding fiscal years.
(Pub. L. 90–351, title I, §3001, as added Pub. L. 110–315, title IX, §952, Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3470.)
REFERENCES IN TEXT
The Higher Education Act of 1965, referred to in subsec. (b)(3)(A)(i), (ii), is Pub. L. 89–329, Nov. 8, 1965, 79 Stat. 1219. Parts B, D, and E of title IV of the Act are classified to parts B (§1071 et seq.), D (§1087a et seq.), and E (§1087aa et seq.), respectively, of subchapter IV of chapter 28 of Title 20, Education. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1001 of Title 20 and Tables.
Section was formerly classified to section 3797cc–21 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, prior to editorial reclassification and renumbering as this section.
Another section 3001 of Pub. L. 90–351 was classified to section 10681 of this title, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 115–391.