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2006 Florida Statutes
Private court-appointed counsel; compensation.
27.5304 Private court-appointed counsel; compensation.--
(1) Private court-appointed counsel shall be compensated by the Justice Administrative Commission in an amount not to exceed the fee limits established in this section. The attorney also shall be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses in accordance with s. 29.007 If the attorney is representing a defendant charged with more than one offense in the same case, the attorney shall be compensated at the rate provided for the most serious offense for which he or she represented the defendant. This section does not allow stacking of the fee limits established by this section. Private court-appointed counsel providing representation under an alternative model shall enter into a uniform contract with the Justice Administrative Commission and shall use the Justice Administrative Commission's uniform procedures and forms in support of billing for attorney's fees, costs, and related expenses. Failure to comply with the terms of the contract for services may result in termination of the contract.
(2) The Justice Administrative Commission shall review an intended billing by private court-appointed counsel for attorney's fees based on a flat fee per case for completeness and compliance with contractual, statutory, and circuit Article V indigent services committee requirements. The commission may approve the intended bill for a flat fee per case for payment without approval by the court if the intended billing is correct. For all other intended billings, prior to filing a motion for an order approving payment of attorney's fees, costs, or related expenses, the private court-appointed counsel shall deliver a copy of the intended billing, together with supporting affidavits and all other necessary documentation, to the Justice Administrative Commission. The Justice Administrative Commission shall review the billings, affidavit, and documentation for completeness and compliance with contractual and statutory requirements. If the Justice Administrative Commission objects to any portion of the proposed billing, the objection and reasons therefor shall be communicated to the private court-appointed counsel. The private court-appointed counsel may thereafter file his or her motion for order approving payment of attorney's fees, costs, or related expenses together with supporting affidavits and all other necessary documentation. The motion must specify whether the Justice Administrative Commission objects to any portion of the billing or the sufficiency of documentation and shall attach the Justice Administrative Commission's letter stating its objection. The attorney shall have the burden to prove the entitlement to attorney's fees, costs, or related expenses. A copy of the motion and attachments shall be served on the Justice Administrative Commission at least 5 business days prior to the date of a hearing. The Justice Administrative Commission shall have standing to appear before the court to contest any motion for order approving payment of attorney's fees, costs, or related expenses and may participate in a hearing on the motion by use of telephonic or other communication equipment unless ordered otherwise. 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 for order approving payment of attorney's fees, costs, or related expenses. The fact that the Justice Administrative Commission has not objected to any portion of the billing or to the sufficiency of the documentation is not binding on the court. The court retains primary authority and responsibility for determining the reasonableness of all billings for attorney's fees, costs, and related expenses, subject to statutory limitations. Private court-appointed counsel is entitled to compensation upon final disposition of a case, except as provided in subsections (7), (8), and (10). Before final disposition of a case, a private court-appointed counsel may file a motion for fees, costs, and related expenses for services completed up to the date of the motion in any case or matter in which legal services have been provided by the attorney for more than 1 year. The amount approved by the court may not exceed 80 percent of the fees earned, or costs and related expenses incurred, to date, or an amount proportionate to the maximum fees permitted under this section based on legal services provided to date, whichever is less. The court may grant the motion if counsel shows that failure to grant the motion would work a particular hardship upon counsel.
(3) The compensation for representation in a criminal proceeding shall not exceed the following:
(a)1. For misdemeanors and juveniles represented at the trial level: $1,000.
2. For noncapital, nonlife felonies represented at the trial level: $2,500.
3. For life felonies represented at the trial level: $3,000.
4. For capital cases represented at the trial level: $3,500.
5. For representation on appeal: $2,000.
(b) If a death sentence is imposed and affirmed on appeal to the Supreme Court, the appointed attorney shall be allowed compensation, not to exceed $1,000, for attorney's fees and costs incurred in representing the defendant as to an application for executive clemency, with compensation to be paid out of general revenue from funds budgeted to the Department of Corrections.
(4) By January 1 of each year, the Article V Indigent Services Advisory Board shall recommend to the Legislature any adjustments to the compensation provisions of this section.
(5)(a) If counsel is entitled to receive compensation for representation pursuant to court appointment in a termination of parental rights proceeding under chapter 39, such compensation shall not exceed $1,000 at the trial level and $2,500 at the appellate level.
(b) Counsel entitled to receive compensation for representation pursuant to court appointment in a proceeding under chapter 384 or chapter 392 shall receive reasonable compensation as fixed by the court making the appointment.
(6) A private attorney appointed in lieu of the public defender to represent an indigent defendant may not reassign or subcontract the case to another attorney or allow another attorney to appear at a critical stage of a case who is not on the registry developed under s. 27.40
(7) Private court-appointed counsel representing a parent in a dependency case that is open may submit a request for payment to the Justice Administrative Commission at the following intervals:
(a) Upon entry of an order of disposition as to the parent being represented.
(b) Upon conclusion of a 12-month permanency review.
(c) Following a judicial review hearing.
In no case, however, may counsel submit requests under this subsection more than once per quarter, unless the court finds extraordinary circumstances justifying more frequent submission of payment requests.
(8) Private court-appointed counsel representing an individual in an appeal to a district court of appeal or the Supreme Court may submit a request for payment to the Justice Administrative Commission at the following intervals:
(a) Upon the filing of an appellate brief, including, but not limited to, a reply brief.
(b) When the opinion of the appellate court is finalized.
(9) Private court-appointed counsel may not bill for preparation of invoices whether or not the case is paid on the basis of an hourly rate or by flat fee.
(10) The Justice Administrative Commission shall develop a schedule to provide partial payment of criminal attorney fees for cases that are not resolved within 6 months. The schedule must provide that the aggregate payments shall not exceed limits established by law. Any partial payment made pursuant to this subsection shall not exceed the actual value of services provided to date. Any partial payment shall be proportionate to the value of services provided based on payment rates included in the contract, not to exceed any limit provided by law.
History.--s. 20, ch. 2003-402; s. 11, ch. 2004-265; s. 4, ch. 2005-236.