Chapter 2.44
COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER’S OFFICE

Sections:

2.44.010    County public defender—Creation of office—Appointment—Term.

2.44.015    Definitions.

2.44.020    Joint action to establish office.

2.44.030    Qualifications—Compensation—Deputies and employees—Private practice of law prohibited—Expenses.

2.44.040    Oath.

2.44.050    Interview—Representation—Termination of representation—Conflict counsel.

2.44.060    Appointments by the magistrate—Determination of indigence—Payment of fees.

2.44.070    Reimbursement to county for services of an appointed attorney or the public defender when person is found to have assets during or subsequent to the services.

2.44.080    Annual reports—Contents.

2.44.090    Reports to legislative commission.

2.44.100    Disclaimer of county duty.

2.44.110    Alternate county public defender—Creation of office—Appointment—Term.

2.44.120    Qualifications—Representation of indigent persons charged with public offense.

2.44.130    Compensation—Deputies and employees—Private practice of law prohibited—Office expenses—Salaries.

2.44.140    Interview, representation of indigent persons.

2.44.150    Annual reports—Contents.

2.44.160    Reports to legislative commission.

2.44.010 County public defender—Creation of office—Appointment—Term.

A. Pursuant to NRS Chapter 260, the office of the Humboldt County public defender is hereby created.

B. The office of public defender shall be filled by appointment by Humboldt County board of commissioners after receiving recommendations from the Humboldt County public defender committee (“HCPDC”). HCPDC shall be comprised of one county commissioner, one district court judge, the county administrator and one private attorney and shall be appointed by Humboldt County board of commissioners.

C. The Humboldt County public defender shall serve at the pleasure of the Humboldt County board of commissioners. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.015 Definitions.

“Child protective proceedings” means any proceeding in which a child, as defined in NRS 432B.040, is alleged to have been abused or neglected pursuant to NRS Chapter 432B that brings the child and the responsible person(s) under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

“Guardianship proceedings” means any proceeding in which a proposed adult ward, as defined in NRS 159.025, is alleged to be incompetent or of limited capacity to be the subject of a petition for guardianship pursuant to NRS Chapter 159.

“Household Assets and Income.” Household assets and income includes all property owned and the entire income of a household and the amount which a court projects a person or household is able to earn.

“Household,” as used in this chapter, is limited to a person and his spouse, parents, children, brothers and sisters residing with him.

“Indigent person,” as used in this chapter, means:

1. Any person, estate of a proposed adult ward, or in a juvenile matter, a child’s parent or guardian, that is not able, financially, to secure the services of legal counsel by means of his present or reasonably anticipated resources, considering the seriousness, need, and urgency of the matter, the difficulties or intricacies of the issues involved, and the financial circumstances of the applicant.

2. Any child, as defined in NRS 62A.030, whose parent or guardian does not retain an attorney for the child and is not likely to do so. (Any parent or guardian who is not indigent and who does not retain an attorney for the child shall be charged a fee pursuant to HCC 2.44.060 or may be ordered to reimburse the county pursuant to HCC 2.44.070.)

“Juvenile matter” means any proceeding in which a child, as defined in NRS 62A.030, is alleged to have committed a delinquent act or is in need of supervision pursuant to NRS Chapter 62 that brings the child and his parent or guardian under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

“Magistrate,” as used in this chapter, means any officer specified in NRS 169.095. The term also includes any hearing master appointed by the district court acting in accordance with the powers conferred upon the hearing master. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.020 Joint action to establish office.

Pursuant to NRS 260.020, the Humboldt County commissioners may join with one or more other counties to establish one office of public defender to serve those counties. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.030 Qualifications—Compensation—Deputies and employees—Private practice of law prohibited—Expenses.

A. The public defender shall be:

1. A qualified attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Nevada; and

2. A resident of Humboldt County or shall become a resident of Humboldt County as soon as practicable after appointment.

B. The compensation of the public defender, deputy public defender, and the support staff shall be fixed by Humboldt County board of commissioners.

C. The public defender may appoint deputies and support staff, with the approval of Humboldt County board of commissioners. A deputy must be a qualified attorney licensed to practice in this state. Any appointment made pursuant to this section must not be construed to confer upon that appointee policymaking authority for the office of the public defender or Humboldt County.

D. Subject to prior Humboldt County board of commissioners approval through the budgeting process, the public defender may request that the court authorize the expenditure of funds, not to exceed the amount authorized by the budget, for investigators, expert witnesses, and other services that may be necessary to enable the public defender to carry out the responsibilities of defending clients. Any augments to the budgetary amount must have the prior approval of Humboldt County board of commissioners.

E. The public defender and deputies shall not engage in the private practice of law while employed in the office of public defender.

F. Humboldt County board of commissioners shall provide necessary and appropriate office space, furniture, equipment, and supplies to conduct the business of the office of the public defender.

G. The public defender shall maintain a budget for approved office expenses. Humboldt County board of commissioners shall appropriate funds to operate and maintain the office of the public defender in accordance with Humboldt County established budgetary process. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.040 Oath.

Before entering upon the duties of their offices, the public defender and all deputies shall take the constitutional oath of office administered by the county clerk. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.050 Interview—Representation—Termination of representation—Conflict counsel.

A. The public defender may, before appointment as counsel for that person, interview an indigent person when he has been arrested and confined for a public offense or for questioning on suspicion of having committed a public offense. This does not create a right to the public defender before appointment by the magistrate.

B. The public defender or other appointed counsel shall represent without charge:

1. All indigent persons who are appointed counsel by a magistrate pursuant to HCC 2.44.060.

2. All persons who are ordered to attend the drug court program by the district court or are otherwise admitted into the drug court program.

C. The public defender or other appointed counsel shall represent and may charge, through the court, the appropriate fee or reimbursement pursuant to HCC 2.44.060 or 2.44.070 of all persons who are:

1. Appointed counsel by a magistrate;

2. Not indigent; and

a. Alleged to have committed a public offense, probation, or parole violation; or

b. Alleged to have committed an act that places them under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court; or

c. Alleged to be incompetent, of limited capacity or otherwise mentally ill as a proposed adult ward in any guardianship proceeding.

D. When representing an indigent person or another person for whom he is appointed, the public defender or other appointed counsel shall:

1. Counsel and defend the person, if that person is held in custody and charged with a public offense, juvenile matter, or child protection proceedings, or is alleged to be incompetent or of limited capacity, or in any other proper case at every stage of the proceedings following such appointment by the appropriate magistrate.

2. Prosecute any appeals or other remedies before or after conviction or commitment that the public defender considers to be in the interests of justice.

E. Upon appointment, the public defender or other appointed counsel shall represent the person at every critical stage of the proceedings from initial appointment by the court. For cause, during the proceedings, a court of competent jurisdiction may on its own motion or upon motion of the public defender, other appointed counsel, the person, the child, or parent or guardian, take the necessary steps to appoint conflict counsel or other additional counsel that the court deems necessary.

F. If, during the course of the proceedings, a court finds that a represented person, the estate of an adult ward, or in a juvenile matter, the parent or guardian of the child, is no longer indigent and is financially able to retain private counsel, the court may terminate the appointment of the public defender or other appointed counsel and order the person, the estate, or parent or guardian to reimburse the county pursuant to HCC 2.44.070. This subsection applies to a juvenile matter insofar as a parent retains private counsel for the child or is likely to do so.

G. If, during the course of the proceedings, a court finds that a represented person, the estate of an adult ward or in a juvenile matter, the parent or guardian of the child, is no longer indigent and is financially unable to retain private counsel, the court may order that person, parent or guardian pay the appropriate fees for services provided by the public defender pursuant to HCC 2.44.060.

H. If, during the course of the proceedings, a court finds that a represented person, the estate of an adult ward or in a juvenile matter, the parent or guardian of the child, becomes indigent or is otherwise financially unable to pay retained counsel, the court may appoint the public defender to represent that person or child and may order that person, parent or guardian to pay the appropriate fees for services provided by the public defender or other appointed counsel pursuant to HCC 2.44.060. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.060 Appointments by the magistrate—Determination of indigence—Payment of fees.

A. Any person appearing before the magistrate on the following matters may petition the court to have counsel appointed:

1. All criminal matters in which the magistrate deems that the appointment of counsel for the defendant is warranted;

2. All juvenile matters in which the magistrate deems that the appointment of counsel for the child is warranted;

3. All guardianships involving the public guardian in which the magistrate deems that the appointment of counsel for the proposed adult ward is warranted; and

4. All child protection proceedings in which the magistrate deems that the appointment of counsel, for the parent or person responsible for the child’s welfare and alleged to have abused or neglected a child, is warranted.

B. In the case that a parent or guardian does not retain counsel for the child and is not likely to do so, regardless of the parent or guardian’s status as indigent, the court shall appoint counsel for the child.

C. Prior to making an appointment under subsection (A) or (B) of this section, the magistrate shall:

1. Require the person, or in the case of a juvenile matter the parent or guardian, to include with the petition, or otherwise provide to the court, with the exception of cases involving a drug court participant, a standardized form declaration, declaring all household assets and income. The declaration shall be subscribed and sworn to under penalty of perjury by the petitioner, parent or guardian.

2. Determine whether the person, parent or guardian is indigent or otherwise unable to retain counsel based upon the sworn declaration and applying the guidelines promulgated by the HCPDC and located with the public defender and the clerk of the court.

D. If the magistrate finds the person, parent or guardian, or estate of an adult ward is indigent then there is no charge for the public defender or other appointed counsel.

E. If the magistrate determines that the person, parent or guardian is not indigent pursuant to the guidelines and the person, parent or guardian, due to his financial condition, would not be able to afford a private attorney, the magistrate may enter an order appointing the public defender. If the court issues an order of appointment under this subsection, the court shall order the person, parent or guardian to pay a fee to the court for the services of public defender or other appointed counsel in accordance with the Humboldt County board of commissioners approved fee scheduled located with the public defender and the clerk of the court.

F. The court shall order a parent or guardian, who is not indigent, does not qualify under subsection (D) of this section, and who does not retain counsel for a child, to pay a fee to the court for the services of the public defender or other appointed counsel in accordance with HCC 2.44.070.

G. The court shall order, in the event that the estate of an adult ward has assets, assess the amount to be paid on an hourly basis, in accordance with HCC 2.44.070, for the services of the public defender.

H. A person ordered to pay a fee for services of the public defender or other appointed counsel shall pay those fees to the clerk of the court and the clerk shall transfer the funds to the county treasurer for deposit into the general fund. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.070 Reimbursement to county for services of an appointed attorney or the public defender when person is found to have assets during or subsequent to the services.

If a person, estate of an adult ward, parent or guardian of a child for whom an attorney is appointed at the public’s expense is found to have property subject to execution or has acquired such property within six years after the termination of the attorney’s representation, the court shall determine the value of the legal services provided and shall render judgment for that amount in favor of the county that furnished the public defender or otherwise paid for the defense. For legal services provided through appointed counsel other than the public defender, the court shall determine the value of such services pursuant to NRS 7.125 and 7.135 as appropriate. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.080 Annual reports—Contents.

A. The public defender shall make an annual report to Humboldt County board of commissioners covering all cases handled by the office during the preceding calendar year. Such reports shall be in writing in a form approved by Humboldt County board of commissioners and submitted not later than the first day of February of the following year.

B. Such report shall contain information requested by Humboldt County board of commissioners which information shall include, but is not limited to, the following:

1. The number of new cases received during the report period categorized as follows:

a. Felonies,

b. Gross misdemeanors,

c. Misdemeanors,

d. Municipal ordinance violations,

e. Juvenile matters,

f. Child protection proceedings,

g. Guardianship proceedings,

h. Drug court proceedings,

i. Extradition proceedings,

j. Modifications of probation or sentence,

k. Insanity hearings,

l. Probation revocations,

m. Parole violations,

n. Post-conviction proceedings,

o. District court appeals,

p. Supreme Court appeals,

q. Miscellaneous proceedings;

2. The number of cases closed during the report period;

3. The number of open and active cases;

4. The dollar amount of all attorneys’ fees levied upon public defender clients;

5. The dollar amount of all revenue collected during the report period. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.090 Reports to legislative commission.

The public defender shall submit such reports to the legislative commission as the regulations of the legislative commission require. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.100 Disclaimer of county duty.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be interpreted or construed as a creation of, or an acknowledgment of, any duty owed to criminal defendants by the County of Humboldt other than a fulfillment of those specific requirements levied upon the County of Humboldt by the Nevada legislature. (Ord. 4-23-07)

2.44.110 Alternate county public defender—Creation of office—Appointment—Term.

A. Pursuant to NRS Chapter 260, the office of alternate public defender is hereby created.

B. The office of alternate public defender shall be filled by appointment by the board of county commissioners.

C. The alternate public defender shall serve at the pleasure of the board of county commissioners. (Ord. 2-06-17 § 1)

2.44.120 Qualifications—Representation of indigent persons charged with public offense.

A. The alternate public defender shall be:

1. A qualified attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Nevada; and

2. A resident of Humboldt County.

B. The alternate public defender shall represent, without charge, the following individuals:

1. Each indigent person in felony and gross misdemeanor proceedings, as first tier conflict counsel, who is under arrest and held for a public offense in a case where the public defender cannot represent the person due to a conflict of interest, unavailability or scheduling necessities;

2. All juveniles in NRS Chapter 62 cases;

3. A parent or parents alleged to have abused and/or neglected a child or children in NRS Chapter 432B cases who qualify for appointment of counsel including custody or guardianship matters pursuant to NRS Chapter 432B;

4. All parolees facing revocation hearings before the parole board who qualify for appointment of counsel; and

5. All adult diversion court and juvenile opportunity court participants while in diversion or opportunity courts.

C. The public defender will become the first tier conflict counsel for the alternate public defender in juvenile proceedings, abuse/neglect proceedings, parole revocation proceedings and diversion and opportunity court participants when the alternate public defender cannot represent a party due to a conflict, unavailability or scheduling necessities. (Ord. 2-06-17 § 1)

2.44.130 Compensation—Deputies and employees—Private practice of law prohibited—Office expenses—Salaries.

A. The compensation of the alternate public defender shall be fixed by the board of county commissioners.

B. Subject to prior approval of the board of county commissioners, the alternate public defender may appoint such deputies or assistant attorneys, clerks, investigators, stenographers and other employees as are necessary to enable him to carry out his responsibilities.

C. The compensation of persons appointed under subsection (B) of this section shall be fixed by the board of county commissioners.

D. The alternate public defender and his deputies and assistant attorneys shall not engage in the private practice of law while employed in the office of alternate public defender.

E. The board of county commissioners shall provide office space, furniture, equipment and supplies for the use of the alternate public defender suitable for the conduct of the business of his office. Each such item is a charge against the county. In any case, funds for all charges, costs or cash allowances must first have been authorized by the alternate public defender’s budget, or otherwise authorized and made available by the board of county commissioners.

F. All costs, salaries and expenses entailed in the operation of the office of the alternate public defender shall be borne by Humboldt County, subject to the prior approval of the board of county commissioners. (Ord. 2-06-17 § 1)

2.44.140 Interview, representation of indigent persons.

A. The alternate public defender may, prior to being designated as counsel for that person, interview an indigent person when he has been arrested and confined for a public offense or for questioning on suspicion of having committed a public offense.

B. When representing an indigent person, the alternate public defender shall:

1. Counsel and defend him, if he is held in custody and charged with a public offense, or in insanity or incompetency proceedings, or in any other proper case at every stage of the proceedings following such designation by the appropriate magistrate.

2. Prosecute any appeals or other remedies before or after conviction or commitment which he considers to be in the interests of justice. (Ord. 2-06-17 § 1)

2.44.150 Annual reports—Contents.

A. The alternate public defender shall make an annual report to the board of county commissioners covering all cases handled by his office during the preceding year.

B. Such report shall contain any and all information requested by the board of county commissioners and shall include at least the following information:

1. The number of new cases received during the report period;

2. The number of cases closed during the report period;

3. The dollar amount of all attorneys’ fees levied upon alternate public defender clients;

4. The dollar amount of all revenue collected during the report period; and

5. The number of cases received during the report period consisting of the following:

a. Felonies.

b. Gross misdemeanors.

c. Misdemeanors.

d. Municipal ordinance violations.

e. Parole violations.

f. Modifications of probation or sentence.

g. Miscellaneous proceedings.

h. Juvenile proceedings.

i. Insanity hearings.

j. Probation revocations.

k. Supreme Court appeals.

l. District court appeals.

m. Extradition proceedings.

n. Post-conviction proceedings. (Ord. 2-06-17 § 1)

2.44.160 Reports to legislative commission.

The alternate public defender shall submit such reports to the legislative commission as the regulations of the legislative commission require. (Ord. 2-06-17 § 1)