The Georgia Indigent Defense Act of 2003

House Bill 770 (AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE)
By: Representatives Coleman of the 118th, Porter of the 119th, Fleming of the 79th, Smyre of the 111th, Skipper of the 116th, and others

AN ACT
To amend Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to criminal procedure, so as to enact the “Georgia Indigent Defense Act”

SECTION 1.

Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to criminal procedure, is amended by striking Chapter 12, relating of the legal defense of indigents, and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
“CHAPTER 12 ARTICLE 1

17-12-1.
(a) This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Georgia Indigent Defense Act of 2003.’
(b) The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council shall be an independent agency within the judicial branch of state government.
(c) The council shall be responsible for assuring that adequate and effective legal representation is provided, independently of political considerations or private interests, to indigent persons who are entitled to representation under this chapter.

****

17-12-23.
(a) The circuit public defender shall provide representation in the following actions and proceedings:
(1) Any case prosecuted in a
superior court under the laws of the State of Georgia in which there is a possibility that a sentence of imprisonment or probation or a suspended sentence of imprisonment may be adjudged;
(2) A hearing on a revocation of probation in a superior court;
(3) Any juvenile court case where the juvenile may face a disposition of
confinement, commitment, or probation; and
(4) Any direct appeal of any of the proceedings enumerated in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection.
(b) In each of the actions and proceedings enumerated in subsection (a) of this Code section, entitlement to the services of counsel begins as soon as is feasible and no more than 72 hours after the indigent person is taken into custody or service is made upon him or her of the charge, petition, notice, or other initiating process.
(c) Each circuit public defender shall establish a juvenile division within the circuit public defender office to specialize in the defense of juveniles.
(d) A city, county, or consolidated government may contract with the circuit public defender office for the provision of criminal defense for indigent persons accused of violating city, county, or consolidated government ordinances or state laws. If a city, county, or consolidated government does not contract with the circuit public defender office, the city, county, or consolidated government shall be subject to all applicable standards adopted by the council for representation of indigent persons in this state.

***

SECTION 9.

Code Section 36-32-1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the establishment of municipal courts, punishments, and the selection, election, or appointment of the mayor pro tempore or recorder pro tempore, is amended by inserting at the end thereof new subsections (f), (g), and (h) to read as follows:
“(f) Any municipal court operating within this state and having jurisdiction over the violation of municipal ordinances and over such other matters as are by specific or general law made subject to the jurisdiction of municipal courts shall not impose any punishment of confinement, probation, or other loss of liberty, or impose any fine, fee, or cost enforceable by confinement, probation, or other loss of liberty, as authorized by general law or municipal or county ordinance, unless the court provides to the accused the right to representation by a lawyer, and provides to those accused who are indigent the right to counsel at no cost to the accused. Such representation shall be subject to all applicable standards adopted by the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council for representation of indigent persons in this state.
(g) Any municipal court operating within this state that has jurisdiction over the violation of municipal or county ordinances or such other statutes as are by specific or general law made subject to the jurisdiction of municipal courts, and that holds committal hearings in regard to such alleged violations, must provide to the accused the right to representation by a lawyer, and must provide to those accused who are indigent the right to counsel at no cost to the accused. Such representation shall be subject to all applicable standards adopted by the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council for representation of indigent persons in this state.
(h) Any municipality or municipal court may contract with the office of the circuit public defender of the judicial circuit in which such municipality is located as a means of complying with the municipality´s or municipal court´s legal obligation to provide defense counsel at no cost to indigent persons appearing before the court in relation to violations of municipal ordinances, county ordinances, or state laws.”

SECTION 10.

(a) Section 1 of this Act shall become effective as set forth in said section.
(b) Sections 2 through 8 of this Act shall become effective on December 31, 2003.
(c) Section 9 of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2005.
(d) This section and Section 11 of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2003.

SECTION 11.

All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

http://law.gsu.edu/ccunningham/FLR/IndigentDefenseAct-Municipal.htm

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About gacoalition4childprotectionreform1

For the past 10 years I have been researching family law, constitutional law dealing with deprivation and DFCS/CPS. While I am not a lawyer, I am a special family rights law Advocate; advocating families who have been disrupted by the department of family and children services.
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