RULE No. 41 – REPRESENTATION OF INDIGENT DEFENDANTS / COURT APPOINTMENTS

(A) Misdemeanor Appointments

(1) The Summit County Legal Defender Office is designated to provide the legal representation for indigent defendants charged with criminal or traffic misdemeanors, other than a minor misdemeanors. Payment for the services of the Summit County Legal Defender Office shall be from Summit County and/or other governmental bodies contracting with it.

(2) In cases where the Legal Defender’s Office or Court identifies a conflict of interest, an attorney shall be appointed and paid as provided herein.

(3) When a felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, or otherwise remanded back to the Municipal Court, a practicing attorney previously appointed as provided herein may continue with such representation and be paid as provided herein.

(4) When exceptional circumstances exist, and for good cause, the Presiding Judge may appoint a practicing attorney in a misdemeanor case, and the attorney shall be paid as provided herein.

(B) Appointment List

(1) To ensure the equal distribution of appointments, the Court will utilize the list maintained by the Akron Bar Association of attorneys in private practice who are willing to accept appointments for cases identified in (A)(2)-(4), and felony cases arraigned in the Stow Municipal Court. Attorneys who wish to be placed on that list of Appointed Counsel shall apply in writing to the Akron Bar Association, and submit a photograph and proof of malpractice insurance along with the application. Applications may be found on the Akron Bar Association website. Open enrollment for the list occurs at the creation of this rule for ninety (90) days, and thereafter in February and August of each year. During the months of February and August, members of the Appointed Counsel Committee of the Akron Bar Association will meet in person and review the list for any additions or changes.

(2) In order to be approved for inclusion on the Appointment List, an attorney must meet the following standards:

(a)      Be a licensed Ohio attorney in good standing;

(b)      Meet the requirements set forth in the Ohio Administrative Code

120-1- 07 and 120-1-10;

(c)       Take the Annual Criminal Law Update, offered through the Akron Bar                                 Association, during each calendar year;

(d)       Maintain professional liability (malpractice) insurance in the amount equal to the minimum coverage required by the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. An attorney shall file a certificate of compliance with this requirement with his or her application, and thereafter with each renewal as prescribed in (B)(6).

(e)       For attorneys with less than two years of practice, take the ABC’s of a Jury Trial, offered through the Akron Bar Association;

(f)        For attorneys with less than two years of practice, take the Nuts-n-Bolts of Criminal Practice, offered through the Akron Bar Association;

(3) Upon appointment, the attorney shall perform basic duties as warranted by the facts of the case and shall act in a professional manner.

(4) The attorney shall have a working phone with a secretary and/or voicemail to be able to respond to calls from the Court or clients. The attorney shall inform the Court promptly of a change of address or phone number.  The Court may withdraw an appointment if it is unable to contact counsel or counsel does not respond within a reasonable time.

(5) An attorney may be removed from the Appointment List with the approval of a majority of the Appointed Counsel Committee or at any time by the Court. Any attorney being considered for removal by the Committee will be notified by the Committee in writing, with the reasons for removal, and given an opportunity to respond in writing within fourteen (14) days. Such response will be distributed prior to the Appointed Counsel Committee meeting at which the removal will be discussed and determined. If an attorney is so removed, the attorney may seek reinstatement upon correction of the reasons for removal. Such reinstatement is governed by (B)(6) herein.

(6) An attorney seeking renewal or reinstatement to the Appointment List must submit the application and supporting information required by the February and August application deadlines of each year. No renewals or reinstatements will be accepted during other times.

(C) Felony Appointments

(1) Any person charged with a felony and found to be indigent, in need of an attorney, and entitled to the same, shall be appointed a practicing attorney from the Appointment List. The Judge sitting in Arraignment Court shall appoint counsel from the Appointment List as defined herein. In making an appointment, the appointing Judge shall consider:

(a)       The skill, expertise, disciplinary record, promptness and past experience(s) with and of potential appointee;

(b)       The anticipated complexity of the case in which appointment will be made;

(c)       Any educational, mental health, language, or other challenges facing the party for whom the appointment is made;

(d)       The relevant experience of those persons available to accept the appointment, including proficiency in a foreign language, familiarity with mental health issues, and scientific or other evidence issues;

(e)       The avoidance of conflicts of interest or other situations that may potentially delay timely completion of the case;

(f)        Intangible factors, including the court or judicial officer’s view of a potential appointee’s commitment to providing timely, cost-effective, quality representation to each prospective client.

            (2) A record of appointments will be maintained by the Court and reviewed periodically, but not less than annually, by the Presiding Judge to ensure an equitable distribution of appointments.

(D) Fee Schedule

The fee schedule applicable to all practicing attorneys on the Appointment List will be the fee schedule identified by the Ohio Public Defender Commission and approved by Summit County at the time of the request, as well as expenses allowed by Court. No attorney, including the Legal Defender, appointed to represent an indigent defendant, shall receive any fees other than public funds for services relative to that appointment. Before the appointed attorney shall receive any money from or on behalf of an indigent for services in such representation, the Court shall immediately be notified, withdrawing with waiver of any fees from public funds.

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