120.03 Commission - powers and duties.

(A) The Ohio public defender commission shall appoint the state public defender, who shall serve at the pleasure of the commission.

(B) The Ohio public defender commission shall establish rules for the conduct of the offices of the county and joint county public defenders and for the conduct of county appointed counsel systems in the state. These rules shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Standards of indigency and minimum qualifications for legal representation by a public defender or appointed counsel. In establishing standards of indigency and determining who is eligible for legal representation by a public defender or appointed counsel, the commission shall consider an indigent person to be an individual who at the time his need is determined is unable to provide for the payment of an attorney and all other necessary expenses of representation. Release on bail shall not prevent a person from being determined to be indigent.

(2) Standards for the hiring of outside counsel;

(3) Standards for contracts by a public defender with law schools, legal aid societies, and nonprofit organizations for providing counsel;

(4) Standards for the qualifications, training, and size of the legal and supporting staff for a public defender, facilities, and other requirements needed to maintain and operate an office of a public defender;

(5) Minimum caseload standards;

(6) Procedures for the assessment and collection of the costs of legal representation that is provided by public defenders or appointed counsel;

(7) Standards and guidelines for determining whether a client is able to make an up-front contribution toward the cost of his legal representation;

(8) Procedures for the collection of up-front contributions from clients who are able to contribute toward the cost of their legal representation, as determined pursuant to the standards and guidelines developed under division (B)(7) of this section. All of such up-front contributions shall be paid into the appropriate county fund.

(9) Standards for contracts between a board of county commissioners, a county public defender commission, or a joint county public defender commission and a municipal corporation for the legal representation of indigent persons charged with violations of the ordinances of the municipal corporation.

(C) The Ohio public defender commission shall adopt rules prescribing minimum qualifications of counsel appointed pursuant to this chapter or appointed by the courts. Without limiting its general authority to prescribe different qualifications for different categories of appointed counsel, the commission shall prescribe, by rule, special qualifications for counsel and co-counsel appointed in capital cases.

(D) In administering the office of the Ohio public defender commission:

(1) The commission shall do the following:

(a) Approve an annual operating budget;

(b) Make an annual report to the governor, the general assembly, and the supreme court of Ohio on the operation of the state public defender's office, the county appointed counsel systems, and the county and joint county public defenders' offices.

(2) The commission may do the following:

(a) Accept the services of volunteer workers and consultants at no compensation other than reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses;

(b) Prepare and publish statistical and case studies and other data pertinent to the legal representation of indigent persons;

(c) Conduct programs having a general objective of training and educating attorneys and others in the legal representation of indigent persons.

(E) There is hereby established in the state treasury the public defender training fund for the deposit of fees received by the Ohio public defender commission from educational seminars, and the sale of publications, on topics concerning criminal law and procedure. Expenditures from this fund shall be made only for the operation of activities authorized by division (D)(2)(c) of this section.

(F)

(1) In accordance with sections 109.02 , 109.07 , and 109.361 to 109.366 of the Revised Code, but subject to division (E) of section 120.06 of the Revised Code, the attorney general shall represent or provide for the representation of the Ohio public defender commission, the state public defender, assistant state public defenders, and other employees of the commission or the state public defender.

(2) Subject to division (E) of section 120.06 of the Revised Code, the attorney general shall represent or provide for the representation of attorneys described in division (C) of section 120.41 of the Revised Code in malpractice or other civil actions or proceedings that arise from alleged actions or omissions related to responsibilities derived pursuant to this chapter, or in civil actions that are based upon alleged violations of the constitution or statutes of the United States, including section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code, 93 Stat. 1284 (1979), 42 U.S.C.A. 1983 , as amended, and that arise from alleged actions or omissions related to responsibilities derived pursuant to this chapter. For purposes of the representation, sections 109.361 to 109.366 of the Revised Code shall apply to an attorney described in division (C) of section 120.41 of the Revised Code as if he were an officer or employee, as defined in section 109.36 of the Revised Code, and the Ohio public defender commission or the state public defender, whichever contracted with the attorney, shall be considered his employer.

Effective Date: 07-01-1993

Related Legislative Provision: See 129th General AssemblyFile No.39, SB 171, §4