Notice of Intended Action

Attorney qualifications; contracts, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4(1), 11.5 to 11.8, 11.11(1)

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ARC 1438C

STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER[493]

Notice of Intended Action

Twenty-five interested persons, a governmental subdivision, an agency or association of 25 or more persons may demand an oral presentation hereon as provided in Iowa Code section 17A.4(1)"b."

Notice is also given to the public that the Administrative Rules Review Committee may, on its own motion or on written request by any individual or group, review this proposed action under section 17A.8(6) at a regular or special meeting where the public or interested persons may be heard.

Pursuant to the authority of Iowa Code section 13B.4(8), the State Public Defender hereby gives Notice of Intended Action to amend Chapter 11, "Attorney Fee Contracts," Iowa Administrative Code.

These proposed amendments establish minimum qualification requirements for attorneys contracting with the State Public Defender to provide legal services to indigent persons. This change is intended to better ensure that all indigent persons are provided competent and effective counsel, while still providing new attorneys the opportunity to participate in the indigent defense system on less serious cases. The proposed amendments also update provisions regarding the termination of contracts to permit termination on less than 30 days' notice with the mutual consent of the parties and to authorize a review procedure for terminations on the basis of improper billing practices, and make several technical corrections to the chapter.

Any interested person may make written suggestions or comments on the proposed amendments on or before May 20, 2014. Such written comments should be sent to Kurt Swaim, First Assistant State Public Defender, Fourth Floor, Lucas State Office Building, 321 E. 12th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319, or by fax to (515)281-7289 or e-mail at kswaim@spd.state.ia.us.

A public hearing will be held on May 20, 2014, at 1:30 p.m.in Conference Room 424, Fourth Floor, Lucas State Office Building, 321 E. 12th Street, Des Moines, Iowa, at which time persons may present their views either orally or in writing. At the hearing, persons will be asked to give their names and addresses for the record and to confine their remarks to the subject of the amendments.

Any persons who intend to attend the public hearing and have special requirements, such as those related to hearing or mobility impairments, should contact the State Public Defender and advise of the specific needs.

After analysis and review of this rule making, no adverse impact on jobs has been found. The amendments were developed in collaboration with stakeholder groups to minimize any adverse impact on stakeholders.

These amendments are intended to implement Iowa Code chapter 13B.

The following amendments are proposed.

Item 1. Amend rule 493—11.2(13B) as follows:

493—11.2(13B) Contracts. An attorney may enter into a contract with the state public defender for the provision of legal services to indigent persons at either the trial level or the appellate level. Nothing in this rule is intended to imply that an attorney may not have both a contract for trial court work and a contract for appellate work.

11.2(1) Eligibility. To be eligible to contract with the state public defender, an attorney must be licensed to practice law in the state of Iowa and must meet the minimum qualification requirements for contracting as set forth in rule 493—11.3(13B) for the types of cases for which the attorney is contracting.

11.2(2) Contract copy. A copy of an original contract is available from the Office of the State Public Defender, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0087, by telephoning (515)242-6158, or on the Web at http://spd.iowa.gov.

11.2(3) Notice of contract opportunities. The state public defender will give notice to attorneys of the availability of contracts for indigent defense legal services in a manner reasonably calculated to make attorneys aware of the availability of the contracts.

11.2(4) Contract types. Unless the attorney and state public defender agree in writing to a contract covering a different type of case, the contract shall cover one or more of the following categories of case types:

a. Juvenile cases, including juvenile petitions on appeal;

b. Appellate cases, including direct appeals of criminal cases, appeals from postconviction relief proceedings, and any other case for which counsel is statutorily authorized to be paid from the indigent defense fund at the trial level;

c. Postconviction relief cases at the trial level;

d. Class A and B felony cases at the trial level;

e. Class C and D felony cases at the trial level, and Class A felony cases in which another attorney who meets the minimum requirements for such cases is also appointed as the lead counsel;

f. Misdemeanor cases, probation and parole revocation cases, contempt proceedings, and any other adult criminal or civil cases for which counsel is statutorily authorized to be paid from the indigent defense fund at the trial level.

11.2(5) Written approval required. A contract can only be in force and effect when a contract acceptance form is signed by the contracting attorney and approved by the state public defender. The approved contract is only effective for those types of cases and those counties requested by the attorney and approved by the state public defender in writing on the acceptance and approval form, renewal form, or a subsequent written amendment. Nevertheless, a contract covering appellate cases is effective for all 99 counties.

11.2(6) Independent contractor. The contracting attorney shall be an independent contractor and shall not be an agent or employee of the state of Iowa. The attorney shall exercise the attorney's best independent professional judgment on behalf of clients to whom the attorney is assigned.

11.2(7) Notification to clerks. On a monthly basis, the state public defender shall notify the clerks of court in each county of those attorneys who have an approved contract for each type of case in each respective county.

11.2(8) Contract terms. A contract between the state public defender and an attorney shall cover, but is not limited to, the following subjects:

a. The types of cases in which the attorney is to provide services;

b. The counties in which the attorney is to provide services;

c. The term of the contract and the responsibility of the attorney for provision of services in cases undertaken pursuant to the contract;

d. Identification of the attorney who will perform legal representation under the contract;

e. A prohibition against assignment of the obligations undertaken pursuant to the contract and a description of the manner in which temporary substitute counsel may be utilized;

f. The qualifications of the contracting attorney to undertake legal representation pursuant to the contract;

g. A description of the compensation to be paid and the manner of payment;

h. A description of any expenses which may be provided under the contract;

i. A description of the record-keeping and reporting requirements under the contract;

j. A description of the manner in which the contract may be terminated;

k. A description of the manner of disposition of ongoing obligations following termination of the contract.

11.2(9) Compensation. Unless the contract provides for a different rate or manner of payment, the attorney shall be compensated as set forth in rule 493—12.4(13B,815).

11.2(10) Contract form. Unless the attorney and state public defender agree in writing to vary the terms of the contract between them, the terms contained in the Indigent Defense Legal Services Contract No.493-14 shall constitute the agreement between the parties for the provision of legal services.

11.2(11) No guarantee of appointments. An attorney under contract with the state public defender is not guaranteed any minimum number of court appointments. The process by which attorneys under contract with the state public defender are appointed to specific cases is governed by Iowa Code chapters 814 and 815. The state public defender shall retain sole authority to determine the length of each contract or contract renewal.

Item 2. Rescind rule 493—11.3(13B) and adopt the following new rule in lieu thereof:

493—11.3(13B) Attorney minimum qualifications. To be eligible to contract with the state public defender for a type of case after January 1, 2015, the attorney must meet the minimum qualification requirements established by this rule for the particular type of case. Prior to contracting with the state public defender, an attorney shall certify the attorney's compliance with these requirements and, prior to renewal of the contract, shall certify compliance with any ongoing requirements. Satisfying these minimum requirements does not guarantee an attorney a contract with the state public defender. The state public defender retains the discretion to deny or terminate contracts if the state public defender determines that such action is in the best interests of the state.

11.3(1) Juvenile cases. To be eligible to contract to represent indigent persons in juvenile cases, including juvenile petitions on appeal, an attorney must be in compliance with Rule 8.36 of the Iowa Rules of Juvenile Procedure, regardless of whether the attorney seeks to represent parents or children or serve as guardian ad litem in juvenile court. An attorney contracting to represent indigent persons in juvenile cases must:

a. Participate in three hours of continuing legal education related to juvenile court proceedings prior to contracting with the state public defender; and

b. Continue to participate in three hours of continuing legal education related to juvenile court proceedings each year.

11.3(2) Appellate cases. To be eligible to contract to represent indigent persons in appellate cases, including direct appeals of criminal cases, appeals from postconviction relief proceedings, and any other case for which counsel is statutorily authorized to be paid from the indigent defense fund at the trial level, an attorney must:

a. Participate in the basic criminal appeals training sponsored by the state public defender within one year of entering into the contract, unless the attorney has already handled a criminal appeal in Iowa state court; and

b. Participate in three hours of continuing legal education related to criminal law each calendar year in which the attorney has an active indigent defense contract.

11.3(3) Postconviction relief cases. To be eligible to contract to represent indigent persons in postconviction relief cases at the trial level, an attorney must:

a. Have practiced criminal law or served as a judicial law clerk for two years or more in any state or federal court;

b. Have tried at least one criminal jury trial to completion as lead counsel;

c. Participate in five hours of continuing legal education related to criminal law each calendar year in which the attorney has an active indigent defense contract and in the year prior to entering into the contract;

d. Participate in a postconviction relief basic training sponsored by the state public defender prior to entering into the contract, unless the attorney has previously handled at least three postconviction relief proceedings to completion; and

e. Provide the names of at least three judges or magistrates who can discuss the qualifications and effectiveness of the attorney to represent indigent persons in postconviction relief cases.

An attorney who has met all requirements except for the jury trial requirement set forth in paragraph 11.3(3)"b" may provide the state public defender additional detail regarding the attorney's experience and qualifications and the circumstances preventing the attorney from obtaining jury trial experience and may be approved for contracting by the state public defender at the state public defender's sole discretion.

11.3(4) Class A and B felonies. To be eligible to contract to represent indigent persons in Class A and Class B felony cases at the trial level, an attorney must:

a. Have practiced criminal law for four years or more in any state or federal court;

b. Have tried at least five criminal jury trials to completion as lead counsel;

c. Participate in five hours of continuing legal education related to criminal law each calendar year in which the attorney has an active indigent defense contract and in the year prior to entering into the contract; and

d. Provide the names of at least three judges or magistrates, one of whom must be a judge before whom the attorney has tried a criminal jury trial, who can discuss the qualifications and effectiveness of the attorney to represent indigent persons in Class A and Class B felony cases.

If an attorney satisfies the requirements for Class C and Class D felonies, the attorney may contract to serve as the second attorney representing an indigent person in a Class A felony in a case where the first appointed attorney meets these requirements.

11.3(5) Class C and D felonies. To be eligible to contract to represent indigent persons in Class C and Class D felony cases at the trial level, an attorney must:

a. Have practiced criminal law for two years or more in any state or federal court;

b. Have tried at least one criminal jury trial to completion as lead counsel;

c. Participate in five hours of continuing legal education related to criminal law each calendar year in which the attorney has an active indigent defense contract and in the year prior to entering into the contract; and

d. Provide the names of at least three judges or magistrates, one of whom must be a judge before whom the attorney has tried a criminal jury trial, who can discuss the qualifications and effectiveness of the attorney to represent indigent persons in felony cases.

An attorney who has met all requirements except for the jury trial requirement set forth in paragraph 11.3(5)"b" may provide the state public defender additional detail regarding the attorney's experience and qualifications and the circumstances preventing the attorney from obtaining jury trial experience and may be approved for contracting by the state public defender at the state public defender's sole discretion.

11.3(6) Misdemeanor and other cases. To be eligible to contract to represent indigent persons in misdemeanor cases, probation and parole revocation cases, contempt proceedings, and any other adult criminal or civil cases for which counsel is statutorily authorized to be paid from the indigent defense fund at the trial level, an attorney must:

a. Participate in the basic criminal defense training sponsored by the state public defender within one year of entering into the contract, unless the attorney already has an active indigent defense contract or has practiced criminal law for more than two years; and

b. Participate in three hours of continuing legal education related to criminal law each calendar year in which the attorney has an active indigent defense contract.

11.3(7) Amended charges. An attorney who is appointed to a case that is initially within the scope of the attorney's contract but is subsequently amended to contain more serious charges that are outside the scope of the attorney's contract shall request that the court authorize the attorney's withdrawal from the case and appoint an attorney with a contract that covers the amended charges in the county in which the action was pending unless the court determines that no such attorney with an applicable contract is available or the state public defender consents to the continued representation by the original attorney.

Item 3. Amend subrule 11.4(1) as follows:

11.4(1) The state public defender or a person designated by the state public defender may confer with judges, attorneys and others with knowledge of a potential contracting attorney's competence, effectiveness, trustworthiness, compliance with the minimum qualification requirements set forth in rule 493—11.3(13B), and ability to provide services to eligible individuals, and may conduct such additional investigation as deemed warranted in the sole discretion of the state public defender. The information received may be taken into consideration in determining whether it would be in the best interests of the state to enter into an initial or renewal contract with the potential contracting attorney.

Item 4. Rescind and reserve rule 493—11.5(13B).

Item 5. Amend rule 493—11.6(13B) as follows:

493—11.6(13B) Contract renewal. Prior to renewal of any contract, the state public defender may contact judges, attorneys, court personnel, and others to determine if any existing contract is being properly fulfilled and may conduct such additional investigation as is described in rule 493—11.4(13B). If the state public defender has determined that a contract renewal is in the best interests of the state, the state public defender may offer a new contract to the contracting attorney. The contracting attorney may accept the new contract by signing the contract renewal and returning it to the state public defender within 30 days of the date on which the contract is submitted to the contracting attorney prior to the date that the existing contract expires. If the contracting attorney does not sign and return the contract renewal, the contract shall terminate on its expiration date without regard to whether the contracting attorney receives any further notice. If a contracting attorney is not offered a contract renewal, the state public defender shall give the contracting attorney written notice of this action. The attorney may seek reconsideration of this decision in the manner prescribed in rule 493—11.9(13B).

Item 6. Amend subrule 11.7(2) as follows:

11.7(2) Termination for cause.

a. License suspension or revocation. A contract for indigent defense shall automatically terminate without notice upon the suspension or revocation of the attorney's license to practice law in the state of Iowa.

b. Default. The state public defender may issue a notice of default based on any of the grounds described in rule 493—11.8(13B). A notice of default shall state the grounds of default and, if feasible, request that the contracting attorney remedy the default within 10 days of the date of the notice. If the events triggering the notice of default continue to be evidenced more than 10 days beyond the date of written notice, the state public defender may immediately terminate the contract without further notice by issuing a notice of termination. An attorney may seek reconsideration of the state public defender's decision to terminate a contract based on the attorney's default in the manner described in rule 493—11.9(13B).

c. Improper billing practices. The state public defender may notify the attorney that the state public defender is considering the exercise of the state public defender's contract right to terminate the contract for improper billing practices. The notification shall explain the basis for the state public defender's concern and provide the attorney at least 14 days to provide a response. After consideration of the response, the state public defender may terminate the contract for improper billing practices if the state public defender determines that the attorney has engaged in a pattern of willful, intentional, reckless, or negligent submission of false fee claims. An attorney may seek reconsideration of the state public defender's decision to terminate a contract for improper billing practices in the manner described in rule 493—11.9(13B).

Item 7. Adopt the following new subrule 11.7(3):

11.7(3) Termination by mutual consent. Upon the mutual consent, confirmed in writing, of the state public defender and the contracting attorney, the contract may be terminated on less than 30 days' notice. Such termination may affect the entire contract or may relate solely to a particular county or geographical area or to a particular type of case.

Item 8. Amend rule 493—11.8(13B) as follows:

493—11.8(13B) Grounds to deny or terminate a contract. In determining whether the award, renewal, or termination of a contract is in the best interests of the state, the state public defender may take into consideration factors such as, but not limited to, the following:

1.The attorney's eligibility for contracting pursuant to rule 493—11.2(13B) for the type of case in which the attorney is to provide services or the attorney's failure to comply with such requirements;

1. 2.The attorney's compliance with the terms of an existing or prior contract to represent indigent persons;

2. 3.Any form of dishonesty or deception directed to judicial officials, the state public defender, indigent persons, other clients, or any other person in the practice of law;

3. 4.Unprofessional or unethical conduct, or other act or omission that is or may be detrimental or harmful to indigent representation;

4. 5.An attorney's failure to attend, or untimely attendance at, hearings, depositions, or other case-related proceedings;

5. 6.An attorney's failure to abide by a court order, applicable statutes or administrative rules governing indigent representation, or local or state rules of procedure applicable to the cases in which the attorney has been appointed;

6. 7.Repetitive, willful, deceptive, unexplained or uncorrected errors in claims for fees;

7. 8.Disciplinary action against a legal or other professional license or conviction of a crime in any jurisdiction when the disciplinary action or conviction implicates an attorney's honesty, trustworthiness, or competence to practice law, or is otherwise related to the practice of indigent defense;

8. 9.Use of alcohol or controlled substances during court proceedings or in a manner impairing competent performance;

9. 10.Judicial orders or rulings finding that an attorney engaged in untruthful, incompetent, unprofessional, or unethical behavior in the practice of indigent defense, submission of fee claims, or otherwise in the practice of law; or

10. 11.Any other behavior implicating an attorney's competence, effectiveness, or trustworthiness in the practice of indigent defense.

Item 9. Amend subrule 11.11(1) as follows:

11.11(1) The final decision by the state public defender to deny an attorney's request to enter into an initial or renewal contract for indigent representation, or to terminate such a contract for cause following issuance of a notice of default, or to terminate such contract for improper billing practices is reviewable pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 17A.

State Public Defender


This Organization is a part of the Inspections and Appeals Department

Closed For Comments

This notice is now closed for comments. Collection of comments closed on 5/20/2014.

Official Document

  • Attorney qualifications; contracts, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4(1), 11.5 to 11.8, 11.11(1)
  • Published on 4/30/2014
  • 915 Views , 0 Comments
  • Notice of Intended Action

The official published PDF of this document is available from the Iowa General Assembly’s Administrative Rules page.

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View the Iowa Administrative Bulletin for 4/30/2014.

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Administrative Rule References

The following administrative rule references were added to this document. You may click a reference to view related notices.

Rule 493-11.11(1) Rule 493-11.2 Rule 493-11.3 Rule 493-11.4 Rule 493-11.4(1) Rule 493-11.5 Rule 493-11.6 Rule 493-11.7(2) Rule 493-11.7(3) Rule 493-11.8 Rule 493-11.9

Iowa Code References

The following Iowa code references were added to this document. You may click a reference to view related notices.

Iowa Code 17A
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