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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 24-789



Title 37—LAW


[ 37 PA. CODE CH. 481 ]

Preliminary Standards for Delivery of Effective Indigent Defense Services Pursuant to Act 34 of 2023, Article II-F, Indigent Defense; No. 617 Judicial Administration Docket

[54 Pa.B. 3151]
[Saturday, June 8, 2024]


Per Curiam

And Now, this 29th day of May, 2024, pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and in the interests of justice and efficient administration pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 103(a)(3),

It Is Ordered that, in accordance with Section 203-F(i)(3) of Act 34 of 2023, and in response to the submission of the Indigent Defense Advisory Committee (IDAC) as approved by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), preliminary standards for the delivery of effective indigent defense services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are adopted in the attached form.

 These preliminary standards are adopted solely for the purpose of providing guidance to IDAC and PCCD regarding Indigent Defense Grant Program applications submitted in fiscal year 2023-24.

 These preliminary standards are aspirational in nature. Adoption of these preliminary standards is not a determination of the constitutionality of Act 34, or any of its provisions, under the Pennsylvania Constitution or the Constitution of the United States, and does not create or determine any legal rights.

 This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. 103(b), and shall be effective immediately.

Annex A




Subchapter A. Indigent Defense Advisory Committee

Preliminary Standards for Delivery of Effective Indigent Defense Services

§ 481.21. Standard 1: Funding, structure and oversight.

 Where county case volume allows, indigent defense should be a mixed system: primarily dedicated public defender offices, augmented by additional court appointed/conflict counsel to handle overflow and conflict of interest cases. The compensation for lawyers working for public defender offices should be appropriate for and comparable to other publicly funded lawyers. Court appointed/conflict counsel should be paid a reasonable fee, in a timely manner, that reflects the cost of overhead and other office expenses, as well as payment for work. Investigators, social workers, experts and other staff and service providers necessary to indigent defense for all indigent defense providers should also be compensated in a manner consistent with this principle.

§ 481.22. Standard 2: Essential Components of Effective Representation.

 Indigent defense providers should adopt a client-centered approach to representation based around a client's needs and working with them to achieve their goals. Indigent defense providers should have the assistance of investigators, social workers, mitigation specialists, experts and other specialized professionals necessary to meet indigent defense needs. Funding for such services should be provided to and controlled by indigent defense providers. Indigent defense providers should address collateral issues that are relevant to their clients' cases. Indigent defense providers can offer direct assistance with such issues or establish collaborations with, or provide referrals to civil legal services organizations, social services providers and other lawyers and non-lawyer professionals.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 24-789. Filed for public inspection June 7, 2024, 9:00 a.m.]

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