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The Florida Statutes

The 2003 Florida Statutes

Title V
JUDICIAL BRANCH
Chapter 27
STATE ATTORNEYS; PUBLIC DEFENDERS; RELATED OFFICES
View Entire Chapter
Section 27.51, Florida Statutes 2003

127.51  Duties of public defender.--

(1)  The public defender shall represent, without additional compensation, any person who is determined by the court to be indigent as provided in s. 27.52 and who is:

(a)  Under arrest for, or is charged with, a felony;

(b)  Under arrest for, or is charged with, a misdemeanor, a violation of chapter 316 which is punishable by imprisonment, criminal contempt, or a violation of a municipal or county ordinance in the county court, unless the court, prior to trial, files in the cause an order of no imprisonment which states that the defendant will not be imprisoned if he or she is convicted;

(c)  Alleged to be a delinquent child pursuant to a petition filed before a circuit court; or

(d)  Sought by petition filed in such court to be involuntarily placed as a mentally ill person or sexually violent predator or involuntarily admitted to residential services as a person with developmental disabilities. However, a public defender does not have the authority to represent any person who is a plaintiff in a civil action brought under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or the federal statutes, or who is a petitioner in an administrative proceeding challenging a rule under chapter 120, unless specifically authorized by statute.

(2)  The court may not appoint the public defender to represent, even on a temporary basis, any person who is not indigent. The court, however, may appoint private counsel in capital cases as provided in s. 925.035.

(3)  Each public defender shall serve on a full-time basis and is prohibited from engaging in the private practice of law while holding office. Assistant public defenders shall give priority and preference to their duties as assistant public defenders and shall not otherwise engage in the practice of criminal law.

(4)  The public defender for a judicial circuit enumerated in this subsection shall, after the record on appeal is transmitted to the appellate court by the office of the public defender which handled the trial and if requested by any public defender within the indicated appellate district, handle all felony appeals to the state and federal courts required of the official making such request:

(a)  Public defender of the second judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the First District Court of Appeal.

(b)  Public defender of the tenth judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the Second District Court of Appeal.

(c)  Public defender of the eleventh judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the Third District Court of Appeal.

(d)  Public defender of the fifteenth judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

(e)  Public defender of the seventh judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the Fifth District Court of Appeal.

(5)  When the public defender for a judicial circuit enumerated in subsection (4) has represented at trial a person sentenced to death, the public defender shall not represent that person in any direct appellate proceedings. That public defender shall notify the Florida Supreme Court within 10 days after filing a notice of appeal, and the Court shall appoint another public defender enumerated in subsection (4) to represent the person in any direct appellate proceedings.

(6)(a)  When direct appellate proceedings prosecuted by a public defender on behalf of an accused and challenging a judgment of conviction and sentence of death terminate in an affirmance of such conviction and sentence, whether by the Florida Supreme Court or by the United States Supreme Court or by expiration of any deadline for filing such appeal in a state or federal court, the public defender shall notify the accused of his or her rights pursuant to Rule 3.850, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, including any time limits pertinent thereto, and shall advise such person that representation in any collateral proceedings is the responsibility of the capital collateral representative. The public defender shall then forward all original files on the matter to the capital collateral representative, retaining such copies for his or her files as may be desired. However, the trial court shall retain the power to appoint the public defender or other attorney not employed by the capital collateral representative to represent such person in proceedings for relief by executive clemency pursuant to s. 925.035.

(b)  It is the intent of the Legislature that any public defender representing an inmate in any collateral proceedings in any court on June 24, 1985, shall continue representation of that inmate in all postconviction proceedings unless relieved of responsibility from further representation by the court.

(7)  A sum shall be appropriated to the public defender of each judicial circuit enumerated in subsection (4) for the employment of assistant public defenders and clerical employees and the payment of expenses incurred in cases on appeal.

History.--s. 2, ch. 63-409; s. 1, ch. 67-539; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 71-28; s. 1, ch. 72-327; s. 1, ch. 72-722; s. 1, ch. 73-216; s. 4, ch. 73-334; s. 3, ch. 77-147; s. 1, ch. 79-588; s. 2, ch. 80-376; ss. 2, 6, ch. 85-332; s. 11, ch. 87-133; s. 1, ch. 89-308; s. 8, ch. 91-45; s. 138, ch. 95-147; s. 15, ch. 95-195; s. 4, ch. 96-232; s. 2, ch. 97-107; s. 2, ch. 99-222; s. 12, ch. 2000-3; s. 15, ch. 2003-402.

1Note.--Section 15, ch. 2003-402, amended s. 27.51, effective July 1, 2004, to read:

27.51  Duties of public defender.--

(1)  The public defender shall represent, without additional compensation, any person who is determined to be indigent as provided in s. 27.52 and who is:

(a)  Under arrest for, or is charged with, a felony;

(b)  Under arrest for, or is charged with, a misdemeanor authorized for prosecution by the state attorney, a violation of chapter 316 which is punishable by imprisonment, or criminal contempt, unless the court, prior to trial, files in the cause an order of no imprisonment which states that the defendant will not be imprisoned if he or she is convicted;

(c)  Alleged to be a delinquent child pursuant to a petition filed before a circuit court;

(d)  Sought by petition filed in such court to be involuntarily placed as a mentally ill person or sexually violent predator or involuntarily admitted to residential services as a person with developmental disabilities. However, a public defender does not have the authority to represent any person who is a plaintiff in a civil action brought under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or the federal statutes, or who is a petitioner in an administrative proceeding challenging a rule under chapter 120, unless specifically authorized by statute; or

(e)  Convicted and sentenced to death, for purposes of prosecuting an appeal to the Supreme Court.

(2)  The court may not appoint the public defender to represent, even on a temporary basis, any person who is not indigent. The court, however, may appoint private counsel in capital cases as provided in ss. 27.40 and 27.5303.

(3)  Each public defender shall serve on a full-time basis and is prohibited from engaging in the private practice of law while holding office. Assistant public defenders shall give priority and preference to their duties as assistant public defenders and shall not otherwise engage in the practice of criminal law.

(4)  The public defender for a judicial circuit enumerated in this subsection shall, after the record on appeal is transmitted to the appellate court by the office of the public defender which handled the trial and if requested by any public defender within the indicated appellate district, handle all felony appeals to the state and federal courts required of the official making such request:

(a)  Public defender of the second judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the First District Court of Appeal.

(b)  Public defender of the tenth judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the Second District Court of Appeal.

(c)  Public defender of the eleventh judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the Third District Court of Appeal.

(d)  Public defender of the fifteenth judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

(e)  Public defender of the seventh judicial circuit, on behalf of any public defender within the district comprising the Fifth District Court of Appeal.

(5)(a)  When direct appellate proceedings prosecuted by a public defender on behalf of an accused and challenging a judgment of conviction and sentence of death terminate in an affirmance of such conviction and sentence, whether by the Florida Supreme Court or by the United States Supreme Court or by expiration of any deadline for filing such appeal in a state or federal court, the public defender shall notify the accused of his or her rights pursuant to Rule 3.850, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, including any time limits pertinent thereto, and shall advise such person that representation in any collateral proceedings is the responsibility of the capital collateral representative. The public defender shall then forward all original files on the matter to the capital collateral representative, retaining such copies for his or her files as may be desired. However, the trial court shall retain the power to appoint the public defender or other attorney not employed by the capital collateral representative to represent such person in proceedings for relief by executive clemency pursuant to ss. 27.40 and 27.5303.

(b)  It is the intent of the Legislature that any public defender representing an inmate in any collateral proceedings in any court on June 24, 1985, shall continue representation of that inmate in all postconviction proceedings unless relieved of responsibility from further representation by the court.

(6)  A sum shall be appropriated to the public defender of each judicial circuit enumerated in subsection (4) for the employment of assistant public defenders and clerical employees and the payment of expenses incurred in cases on appeal.

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