The bill requires each municipality, on and after January 1, 2020, to provide independent indigent defense for each indigent defendant facing a possible jail sentence for a violation of a municipal ordinance. Independent indigent defense requires, at minimum, that a nonpartisan entity independent of the municipal court and municipal officials oversee the provision of indigent defense counsel. To satisfy this requirement, a municipality may:
- Contract directly with defense attorneys to provide independent indigent defense; or
- Establish a local or regional independent indigent defense commission to appoint and supervise defense counsel.
A municipality that contracts directly with defense attorneys to provide independent indigent defense shall ensure that oversight of such attorneys is provided by the office of alternate defense counsel, by a legal aid clinic at an accredited Colorado law school, or by a local or regional independent indigent defense commission.
The bill requires the state public defender to appoint the members of any local or regional independent indigent defense commission.
The bill sets forth an annual timeline by which a municipality may request and potentially receive the services of the office of alternate defense counsel to:
- Evaluate the provision of defense counsel to indigent defendants; or
- Provide defense counsel to indigent defendants at the expense of the municipality.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)