7A-498.3. Responsibilities of Office of Indigent Defense Services.

(a) The Office of Indigent Defense Services shall be responsible for establishing, supervising, and maintaining a system for providing legal representation and related services in the following cases:

(1) Cases in which an indigent person is subject to a deprivation of liberty or other constitutionally protected interest and is entitled by law to legal representation;

(2) Cases in which an indigent person is entitled to legal representation under G.S. 7A-451 and G.S. 7A-451.1;

(2a) Cases in which the State is legally obligated to provide legal assistance and access to the courts to inmates in the custody of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety; and

(3) Any other cases in which the Office of Indigent Defense Services is designated by statute as responsible for providing legal representation.

(b) The Office of Indigent Defense Services shall develop policies and procedures for determining indigency in cases subject to this Article, and those policies shall be applied uniformly throughout the State. Except in cases under subdivision (2a) of subsection (a) of this section, the court shall determine in each case whether a person is indigent and entitled to legal representation, and counsel shall be appointed as provided in G.S. 7A-452.

(b1) The Office of Indigent Defense Services shall develop a model appointment plan with minimum qualification standards for appointed private counsel by July 1, 2019, for adoption and promulgation by each judicial district. Judicial districts may request modifications to the model plan and qualification standards. If a judicial district has not adopted an appointment plan with the Indigent Defense Services' minimum qualification standards by January 2, 2021, the model plan and qualification standards developed by Indigent Defense Services will become effective on that date in that judicial district. Indigent Defense Services shall review the model plan and qualification standards every five years and, in the event it modifies the model plan and/or qualification standards, shall notify the judicial districts of the change. Judicial districts will have 18 months from the date Indigent Defense Services gives notice of a change to seek modifications to the revised model plan or to the qualification standards.

(c) In all cases subject to this Article, appointment of counsel, determination of compensation, appointment of experts, and use of funds for experts and other services related to legal representation shall be in accordance with rules and procedures adopted by the Office of Indigent Defense Services.

(d) The Office of Indigent Defense Services shall allocate and disburse funds appropriated for legal representation and related services in cases subject to this Article pursuant to rules and procedures established by the Office. (2000-144, s. 1; 2005-276, s. 14.9(a); 2011-145, s. 19.1(h); 2017-186, s. 2(i); 2018-40, s. 6.)