December 10, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2001 Florida Statutes

Title XLVII
Criminal Procedure And Corrections
Chapter 925
Miscellaneous Provisions Of Criminal Procedure
View Entire Chapter
Section 925.037, Florida Statutes 2001

925.037  Reimbursement of counties for fees paid to appointed counsel; circuit conflict committees.--

(1)  Funds shall be appropriated each fiscal year to reimburse counties for fees paid to certain court-appointed attorneys. In order for a fee paid by a county to be reimbursable from such funds, the attorney must have been appointed pursuant to s. 27.53(3) or s. 925.035, must have been approved for such appointment by the circuit conflict committee prior to appointment, and must have been compensated within the maximum fee limits provided by s. 925.036, except that a fee is also reimbursable from such funds if paid by a county pursuant to a finding by a circuit court that the criminal case involved extraordinary circumstances such that the fee limits were inapplicable as a matter of law.

(2)  Beginning with the fiscal year commencing July 1, 1991, such funds shall be allocated among the respective counties by the Justice Administrative Commission on the basis of each county's proportionate share of the total number of cases assigned to the public defender statewide in the preceding calendar year, as reported by the public defenders to the legislative appropriations committees.

(3)  In each judicial circuit a circuit conflict committee shall be established. The committee shall consist of the following:

(a)  The chief judge of the judicial circuit or the chief judge's designated representative.

(b)  One representative of each board of county commissioners within the judicial circuit, each such representative to be designated by board resolution.

(c)  The public defender of the judicial circuit.

(4)  The responsibility of the circuit conflict committee is to select and approve attorneys for all appointments pursuant to ss. 27.53(3) and 925.035, commonly known as conflict case appointments. The circuit conflict committee shall meet at least once each year.

(5)(a)  The clerk of the circuit court in each county shall submit to the Justice Administrative Commission a statement of conflict counsel fees at least annually. Such statement shall identify total expenditures incurred by the county on fees of counsel appointed by the court pursuant to this section where such fees are taxed against the county by judgment of the court. On the basis of such statement of expenditures, the Justice Administrative Commission shall pay state conflict case appropriations to the county. The statement of conflict counsel fees shall be on a form prescribed by the Justice Administrative Commission in consultation with the Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations and the Comptroller. Such form also shall provide for the separate reporting of total expenditures made by the county on attorney fees in cases in which other counsel were appointed by the court where the public defender was unable to accept the case as a result of a stated lack of resources. To facilitate such expenditure identification and reporting, the public defender, within 7 days of the appointment of such counsel by the court, shall report to the clerk of circuit court case-related information sufficient to permit the clerk to identify separately county expenditures on fees of such counsel. No county shall be required to submit any additional information to the commission on an annual or other basis in order to document or otherwise verify the expenditure information provided on the statement of conflict counsel fees form, except as provided in paragraph (c).

(b)  Before September 30 of each year, the clerk of the circuit court in each county shall submit to the Justice Administrative Commission a report of conflict counsel expenses and costs for the previous local government fiscal year. Such report shall identify expenditures incurred by the county on expenses and costs of counsel appointed by the court pursuant to this section where such expenses and costs are taxed against the county by judgment of the court. Such report of expenditures shall be on a form prescribed by the commission in consultation with the Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations and the Comptroller, provided that such form shall at a minimum separately identify total county expenditures for witness fees and expenses, court reporter fees and costs, and defense counsel travel and per diem. Such form also shall provide for the separate reporting of total county expenditures on attorney expenses and costs in cases in which other counsel were appointed by the court where the public defender was unable to accept the case as a result of a stated lack of resources. To facilitate such expenditure identification and reporting, the public defender, within 7 days of the appointment of such counsel by the court, shall report to the clerk of the circuit court case-related information sufficient to permit the clerk to identify separately county expenditures on expenses and costs of such counsel. No county shall be required to submit any additional information to the Justice Administrative Commission on an annual or other basis in order to document or otherwise verify the expenditure information provided on the report of conflict counsel expenses and costs form, except as provided in paragraph (c).

(c)  Before September 30 of each year, each county shall submit to the Justice Administrative Commission a statement of compliance from its independent certified public accountant, engaged pursuant to chapter 11, that each of the forms submitted to the Justice Administrative Commission, as provided for in paragraphs (a) and (b), accurately represent county expenditures incurred in public defender conflict-of-interest cases during each reporting period covered by the statements. The statement of compliance also shall state that the expenditures made and reported were in compliance with relevant portions of Florida law. Such statement may be reflected as part of the annual audit. In the event that the statements are found to be accurate and the expenditures noted thereon to have been made in compliance with relevant portions of Florida law, no additional information or documentation shall be required to accompany the standardized statement of compliance submitted to the commission. If the statement of compliance submitted by the independent certified public accountant indicates that one or more of the forms contained inaccurate expenditure information or if expenditures incurred were not in compliance with relevant portions of Florida law, the commission may require the submission of additional information as may be necessary to identify the nature of the problem.

(d)  Upon the failure of a clerk of the circuit court or county to submit any report or information required by this section, the Justice Administrative Commission may refuse to honor any claim until such clerk or county is determined by the commission to be in compliance with such requirements. In the event that the statement of compliance submitted by a county pursuant to paragraph (c) indicates that the clerk of the circuit court claimed more than was actually expended by the county, the Justice Administrative Commission may require the clerk to submit complete supporting documentation of the county's expenditures on conflict-of-interest cases for the ensuing 3-year period.

(6)  No funds may be transferred to increase the amount available for reimbursement; however, these funds may be reallocated among the counties with the approval of the Justice Administrative Commission in consultation with the chairs of the legislative appropriations committees.

(7)  Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to be an appropriation. Once the allocation to the county has been expended, any further obligation under s. 27.53(3) shall continue to be the responsibility of the county pursuant to this chapter.

1(8)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, and for the 2000-2001 fiscal year only, funds allocated pursuant to this section shall be distributed to the counties in the designated circuits by the state courts system. This subsection is repealed on July 1, 2001.

History.--s. 4, ch. 89-129; s. 2, ch. 90-159; s. 23, ch. 94-348; s. 8, ch. 96-311; s. 1843, ch. 97-102; s. 12, ch. 97-107; s. 113, ch. 99-3; s. 37, ch. 2000-171; ss. 21, 53, ch. 2001-254.

1Note.--

A.  Section 21, ch. 2001-254, amended subsection (8), "[i]n order to implement Specific Appropriation 2967 of the 2001-2002 General Appropriations Act." Specific Appropriation 2967 was vetoed. See ch. 2001-253, the 2001-2002 General Appropriations Act.

B.  Section 53, ch. 2001-254, provides that "[a] section of this act that implements a specific appropriation or specifically identified proviso language in the 2001-2002 General Appropriations Act is void if the specific appropriation or specifically identified proviso language is vetoed. A section of this act that implements more than one specific appropriation or more than one portion of specifically identified proviso language in the 2001-2002 General Appropriations Act is void if all the specific appropriations or portions of specifically identified proviso language are vetoed."

C.  As amended by s. 21, ch. 2001-254, subsection (8) would have read:

(8)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, and for the 2001-2002 fiscal year only, funds allocated pursuant to this section shall be distributed to the counties in the designated circuits by the state courts system. This subsection expires July 1, 2002.

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