October 22, 2020
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The Florida Statutes

The 2004 Florida Statutes

Title V
Chapter 27
View Entire Chapter
Section 27.54, Florida Statutes 2004

27.54  Limitation on payment of expenditures for public defender's office other than by the state.--

(1)  All payments for the salary of the public defender and the necessary expenses of office, including salaries of assistants and staff, shall be considered as being for a valid public purpose. Travel expenses shall be paid in accordance with the provisions of s. 112.061.

(2)  A county or municipality may contract with, or appropriate or contribute funds to, the operation of the offices of the various public defenders as provided in this subsection. A public defender defending violations of special laws or county or municipal ordinances punishable by incarceration and not ancillary to a state charge shall contract with counties and municipalities to recover the full cost of services rendered on an hourly basis or reimburse the state for the full cost of assigning one or more full-time equivalent attorney positions to work on behalf of the county or municipality. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the case of a county with a population of less than 75,000, the public defender shall contract for full reimbursement, or for reimbursement as the parties otherwise agree.

(a)  A contract for reimbursement on an hourly basis shall require a county or municipality to reimburse the public defender for services rendered at a rate of $50 per hour. If an hourly rate is specified in the General Appropriations Act, that rate shall control.

(b)  A contract for assigning one or more full-time equivalent attorney positions to perform work on behalf of the county or municipality shall assign one or more full-time equivalent positions based on estimates by the public defender of the number of hours required to handle the projected workload. The full cost of each full-time equivalent attorney position on an annual basis shall be $50, or the amount specified in the General Appropriations Act, multiplied by the legislative budget request standard for available work hours for one full-time equivalent attorney position, or, in the absence of that standard, 1,854 hours. The contract may provide for funding full-time equivalent positions in one-quarter increments.

(c)  Any payments received pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into the Grants and Donations Trust Fund within the Justice Administrative Commission for appropriation by the Legislature.

(3)  No public defender or assistant public defender shall receive from any county or municipality any supplemental salary, except as provided in this section.

(4)  Unless expressly authorized by law or in the General Appropriations Act, public defenders are prohibited from spending state-appropriated funds on county funding obligations under s. 14, Art. V of the State Constitution beginning January 1, 2005. This includes expenditures on communications services and facilities as defined in s. 29.008. This does not prohibit a public defender from spending funds for these purposes in exceptional circumstances when necessary to maintain operational continuity in the form of a short-term advance pending reimbursement from the county. If a public defender provides short-term advance funding for a county responsibility as authorized by this subsection, the public defender shall request full reimbursement from the board of county commissioners prior to making the expenditure or at the next meeting of the board of county commissioners after the expenditure is made. The total of all short-term advances authorized by this subsection shall not exceed 2 percent of the public defender's approved operating budget in any given year. No short-term advances authorized by this subsection shall be permitted until all reimbursements arising from advance funding in the prior state fiscal year have been received by the public defender. All reimbursement payments received by the public defender shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the public defender may expend funds for the purchase of computer systems, including associated hardware and software, and for personnel related to this function.

History.--s. 5, ch. 63-409; s. 3, ch. 67-539; s. 4, ch. 72-327; s. 2, ch. 72-722; s. 3, ch. 73-216; s. 6, ch. 80-376; s. 4, ch. 85-213; s. 4, ch. 88-280; s. 1, ch. 89-118; s. 2, ch. 91-303; s. 140, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 141, ch. 95-147; s. 21, ch. 2003-402; s. 12, ch. 2004-265.

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