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Colorado Rights Blog

SB18-203: Conflict-free Representation In Municipal Courts

Criminal Justice
Bill Number: SB18-203
Year: 2018
ACLU Position: Support
Sponsors: V. Marble/S. Lontine (D)

Description:

The bill requires each municipality, on and after January 1, 2020,
to provide independent indigent defense for each indigent defendant
facing a possible jail sentence for a violation of a municipal ordinance.
Independent indigent defense requires, at minimum, that a nonpartisan
entity independent of the municipal court and municipal officials oversee
the provision of indigent defense counsel. To satisfy this requirement, a

municipality may:
• Contract directly with defense attorneys to provide
independent indigent defense; or
• Establish a local or regional independent indigent defense
commission to appoint and supervise defense counsel.
A municipality that contracts directly with defense attorneys to
provide independent indigent defense shall ensure that oversight of such
attorneys is provided by the office of alternate defense counsel, by a legal
aid clinic at an accredited Colorado law school, or by a local or regional
independent indigent defense commission.
The bill requires the state public defender to appoint the members
of any local or regional independent indigent defense commission.
The bill sets forth an annual timeline by which a municipality may
request and potentially receive the services of the office of alternate
defense counsel to:
• Evaluate the provision of defense counsel to indigent
defendants; or
• Provide defense counsel to indigent defendants at the
expense of the municipality.


Current Status:

Senate Second Reading Laid Over Daily - No Amendments (04/13/2018)
Senate Committee on Appropriations Refer Unamended to Senate Committee of the Whole (04/11/2018)
Senate Committee on Judiciary Refer Amended to Appropriations (03/28/2018)



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