2006 Florida Statutes
Public defenders; conflict of interest.
27.5303 Public defenders; conflict of interest.--
(1)(a) If, at any time during the representation of two or more defendants, a public defender determines that the interests of those accused are so adverse or hostile that they cannot all be counseled by the public defender or his or her staff without conflict of interest, or that none can be counseled by the public defender or his or her staff because of a conflict of interest, then the public defender shall file a motion to withdraw and move the court to appoint other counsel. If requested by the Justice Administrative Commission, the public defender shall submit a copy of the motion to the Justice Administrative Commission at the time it is filed with the court. The Justice Administrative Commission shall have standing to appear before the court to contest any motion to withdraw due to a conflict of interest. The Justice Administrative Commission may contract with other public or private entities or individuals to appear before the court for the purpose of contesting any motion to withdraw due to a conflict of interest. The court shall review and may inquire or conduct a hearing into the adequacy of the public defender's representations regarding a conflict of interest without requiring the disclosure of any confidential communications. The court shall deny the motion to withdraw if the court finds the grounds for withdrawal are insufficient or the asserted conflict is not prejudicial to the indigent client. If the court grants the motion to withdraw, the court shall appoint one or more attorneys to represent the accused.
(b) Upon its own motion, the court shall appoint such other counsel when the facts developed upon the face of the record and court files in the case disclose a conflict of interest. The court shall advise the appropriate public defender and clerk of court, in writing, with a copy to the Justice Administrative Commission, if so requested by the Justice Administrative Commission, when making the motion and appointing one or more attorneys to represent the accused. The court shall specify the basis for the conflict.
(c) In no case shall the court approve a withdrawal by the public defender based solely upon inadequacy of funding or excess workload of the public defender.
(d) In determining whether or not there is a conflict of interest, the public defender shall apply the standards contained in the Uniform Standards for Use in Conflict of Interest Cases found in appendix C to the Final Report of the Article V Indigent Services Advisory Board dated January 6, 2004.
(2) The court shall appoint conflict counsel pursuant to s. 27.40 The appointed attorney may not be affiliated with the public defender or any assistant public defender in his or her official capacity or any other private attorney appointed to represent a codefendant. The public defender may not participate in case-related decisions, performance evaluations, or expense determinations in conflict cases.
(3) Private court-appointed counsel shall be compensated as provided in s. 27.5304
(4)(a) If a defendant is convicted and the death sentence is imposed, the appointed attorney shall continue representation through appeal to the Supreme Court. The attorney shall be compensated as provided in s. 27.5304 If the attorney first appointed is unable to handle the appeal, the court shall appoint another attorney and that attorney shall be compensated as provided in s. 27.5304
(b) The public defender or an attorney appointed pursuant to this section may be appointed by the court rendering the judgment imposing the death penalty to represent an indigent defendant who has applied for executive clemency as relief from the execution of the judgment imposing the death penalty.
(c) When the appointed attorney in a capital case has completed the duties imposed by this section, the attorney shall file a written report in the trial court stating the duties performed by the attorney and apply for discharge.
History.--s. 19, ch. 2003-402; s. 10, ch. 2004-265.