7A-498.5. Responsibilities of Commission.

(a) The Commission shall have as its principal purpose the development and improvement of programs by which the Office of Indigent Defense Services provides legal representation to indigent persons.

(b) The Commission shall appoint the Director of the Office of Indigent Defense Services, who shall be chosen on the basis of training, experience, and other qualifications. The Commission shall consult with the Chief Justice and Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts in selecting a Director, but shall have final authority in making the appointment.

(c) The Commission shall develop standards governing the provision of services under this Article. The standards shall include:

(1) Standards for maintaining and operating regional and district public defender offices and appellate defender offices, including requirements regarding qualifications, training, and size of the legal and supporting staff;

(2) Standards prescribing minimum experience, training, and other qualifications for appointed counsel;

(3) Standards for public defender and appointed counsel caseloads;

(4) Standards for the performance of public defenders and appointed counsel;

(5) Standards for the independent, competent, and efficient representation of clients whose cases present conflicts of interest, in both the trial and appellate courts;

(6) Standards for providing and compensating experts and others who provide services related to legal representation;

(7) Standards for qualifications and performance in capital cases, consistent with any rules adopted by the Supreme Court; and

(8) Standards for determining indigency and for assessing and collecting the costs of legal representation and related services.

(d) The Commission shall determine the methods for delivering legal services to indigent persons eligible for legal representation under this Article and shall establish in each district or combination of districts a system of appointed counsel, contract counsel, part-time public defenders, public defender offices, appellate defender services, and other methods for delivering counsel services, or any combination of these services.

(e) In determining the method of services to be provided in a particular district, the Director shall consult with the district bar as defined in G.S. 84-19 and the judges of the district or districts under consideration. The Commission shall adopt procedures ensuring that affected local bars have the opportunity to be significantly involved in determining the method or methods for delivering services in their districts. The Commission shall solicit written comments from the affected local district bar, senior resident superior court judge, and chief district court judge. Those comments, along with the recommendations of the Commission, shall be forwarded to the members of the General Assembly who represent the affected district and to other interested parties.

(f) Subject to G.S. 7A-498.2(e) the Commission shall establish policies and procedures with respect to the distribution of funds appropriated under this Article, including rates of compensation for appointed counsel, schedules of allowable expenses, appointment and compensation of expert witnesses, and procedures for applying for and receiving compensation. The rate of compensation set for expert witnesses may be no greater than the rate set by the Administrative Office of the Courts under G.S. 7A-314(d).

(g) Repealed by Session Laws 2015-241, s. 18A.17(c), effective July 1, 2015.

(h) The Commission shall adopt such other rules and procedures as it deems necessary for the conduct of business by the Commission and the Office of Indigent Defense Services. (2000-144, s. 1; 2001-392, s. 2; 2011-145, s. 15.20; 2015-241, s. 18A.17(c); 2015-268, s. 6.3.)