Chapter 2.96


2.96.010    Objective.

2.96.020    Compensation.

2.96.030    Qualifications, duties and responsibilities of counsel.

2.96.040    Attorney caseloads.

2.96.050    Responsibility for expert witnesses and investigative services.

2.96.060    Administrative expenses and support services.

2.96.070    Reports of attorney activity.

2.96.080    Guidelines for awarding defense contracts.

2.96.090    Reports of attorney activity and vouchers.

2.96.100    Training, monitoring and evaluation of attorneys.

2.96.110    Limitations on private practice of contract attorneys.

2.96.120    Disposition of defendant complaints.

2.96.130    Cause for termination of defender services and removal of attorney.

2.96.140    Nondiscrimination.

2.96.010 Objective.

The purpose of these standards is to guarantee that indigent people who are charged with crimes receive high-quality, zealous, conflict-free representation through a public defense system that efficiently and effectively protects and promotes the constitutional requirements of fairness, equal protection, and due process. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.020 Compensation.

Public defense attorneys and staff should be compensated at a rate commensurate with their training and experience. To attract and retain qualified personnel, public defenders shall be compensated at a rate that is competitive for defense services in the state of Washington and the south Puget Sound region in particular. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.030 Qualifications, duties and responsibilities of counsel.

The city of Shelton’s legal representation system shall require that defense services be provided to all clients in a professional, skilled manner consistent with minimum professional standards, applicable State Bar Association standards, the rules of professional conduct, case law, and applicable court rules defining the duties of counsel and the rights of defendants in criminal cases. Attorneys must be familiar with statutes, court rules, constitutional provisions, and case law relevant to their practice area, as well as appellate experience if handling RALJ appeals.

Minimum basic level of representation includes the following:

A.    Reviewing police reports and other discovery materials.

B.    Meeting with the client and discussing the discovery, potential defenses and ascertaining further steps that would be needed for the defendant to present his or her defense. Advising the criminal defendant of his or her defenses or legal options that s/he would have in the court proceedings.

C.    Following up on potential defenses that the attorney has ascertained may exist after conferring with his or her client. Conducting follow-up discovery, contacting defense witnesses and any legal preparation required to prepare a defense.

D.    Competently presenting relevant defenses to the court and, if need be, to a jury. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.040 Attorney caseloads.

The caseload of public defense attorneys shall allow the attorney to give each client the time and effort necessary to ensure effective representation. No public defender should accept workloads that, by reason of their excessive size, interfere with the rendering of quality representation. Attorney caseloads shall comply with the Supreme Court standards for indigent defense. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.050 Responsibility for expert witnesses and investigative services.

Attorneys shall be free to retain expert witnesses and investigators of their choosing, and may apply to the court for such services pursuant to applicable court rules. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.060 Administrative expenses and support services.

Any contract for the provision of public defense services should provide for or include administrative costs and support costs. Attorneys may use qualified paralegal, secretarial, investigative, and other services as deemed appropriate. Attorneys shall maintain an office that accommodates confidential meetings with defendants, the receipt of mail, and service of process. Attorneys shall maintain adequate communication services, including but not limited to telephone and email, to provide for efficient communication with defendants, the court, and the city. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.070 Reports of attorney activity.

Attorneys shall maintain a case reporting and case management information system, and shall provide reports to the city in a form and at increments as agreed to by the city and the attorneys. Reports shall include the number and type of cases, approximate attorney hours for each case and disposition. This information shall also be made available to the office of the administrator of the courts when requested. Attorneys shall not be required to compromise any attorney confidences when providing these reports. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.080 Guidelines for awarding defense contracts.

The city of Shelton shall award contracts for public defender services by determining that the attorney or firm chosen can meet accepted professional standards. City prosecutors and law enforcement officers shall not select the attorneys who will provide indigent defense services, nor shall they be involved in negotiations of contracts for attorneys who will provide indigent defense services. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.090 Reports of attorney activity and vouchers.

The public defense attorney(s) or office shall maintain a case reporting and management information system, which shall be maintained independently from client files so as to disclose no privileged information. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.100 Training, monitoring and evaluation of attorneys.

Attorneys providing public defense services shall participate in regular training programs on criminal defense law, including a minimum of seven hours of continuing legal education annually in areas relating to their public defense practice. If public defender services are provided by a law firm, attorneys shall establish a system in which more senior attorneys regularly review the work of more junior attorneys as needed to ensure compliance with these standards. The more senior attorneys shall review the case outcomes, caseloads, and any other information deemed appropriate, and shall regularly monitor the attorney’s interactions with defendants, case preparation, and in-court activities of more junior attorneys. Attorneys may seek input from judges and other attorneys if appropriate. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.110 Limitations on private practice of contract attorneys.

Attorneys performing contracts for public defense representation must limit their private practice to prevent interference with their indigent defense contractual obligations. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.120 Disposition of defendant complaints.

Attorneys shall establish a process for responding to complaints made by defendants. At a minimum, all complaints shall be reviewed by one or more senior attorneys of the law firm. Complaints that are not resolved by the attorney shall be directed by the attorney to the city manager, or may be directed to the Washington State Bar Association. (Ord. 1921-0518 (part), 2018; Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.130 Cause for termination of defender services and removal of attorney.

Contracts with the attorney shall include grounds for termination. Such grounds for termination shall be based on good cause, which shall include, but shall not be limited to, the failure to provide effective assistance of counsel, the disregard of the rights and interests of the defendant, and/or a willful disregard for these standards. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)

2.96.140 Nondiscrimination.

Attorneys shall not, in the hiring of employees or the provision of services made possible or resulting from a contract with the city, discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, gender, sexual orientation or disability. (Ord. 1808-0812 § 1 (part), 2012)