WSR 12-13-064

RULES OF COURT

STATE SUPREME COURT


[ June 15, 2012 ]

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF NEW STANDARDS FOR INDIGENT DEFENSE AND CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE )

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ORDER

NO. 25700-A-1004


The Washington State Bar Association having recommended the adoption of New Standards for Indigent Defense and Certification of Compliance, and the Court having considered the amendments and comments submitted thereto, and having determined that the proposed amendments will aid in the prompt and orderly administration of justice;

Now, therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED:

(a) That the standards and certificate as shown below are adopted.

(b) That the New Standards for Indigent Defense, except Standard 3.4, will be published in the Washington Reports and will become effective September 1, 2012. New Standard 3.4 will be published in the Washington Reports and become effective on September 1, 2013.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this 15th day of June, 2012.
Madsen, C.J.




Chambers, J.



J. M. Johnson, J.


Stephens, J.


Wiggins, J.


Gonzales, J.


STANDARDS FOR INDIGENT DEFENSE

The following Standards for Indigent Defense are adopted pursuant to CrR 3.1, CrRLJ 3.1 and JuCR 9.2 and shall have an effective date concurrent with the effectiveness of amendments to those rules approved by the Court July 8, 2010 (effective July 1, 2012);


Standard 3: Caseload Limits and Types of Cases


3.1 The contract or other employment agreement or government budget shall specify the types of cases for which representation shall be provided and the maximum number of cases which each attorney shall be expected to handle.

3.2 The caseload of public defense attorneys shall allow each lawyer to give each client the time and effort necessary to ensure effective representation. Neither defender organizations, county offices, contract attorneys nor assigned counsel should accept workloads that, by reason of their excessive size, interfere with the rendering of quality representation. As used in this Standard, "quality representation" is intended to describe the minimum level of attention, care, and skill that Washington citizens would expect of their state's criminal justice system.

3.3 General Considerations

Caseload limits reflect the maximum caseloads for fully supported full-time defense attorneys for cases of average complexity and effort in each case type specified. Caseload limits assume a reasonably even distribution of cases throughout the year.

The increased complexity of practice in many areas will require lower caseload limits. The maximum caseload limit should be adjusted downward when the mix of case assignments is weighted toward offenses or case types that demand more investigation, legal research and writing, use of experts, use of social workers, or other expenditures of time and resources. Attorney caseloads should be assessed by the workload required, and cases and types of cases should be weighted accordingly.

If a defender or assigned counsel is carrying a mixed caseload including cases from more than one category of cases, these standards should be applied proportionately to determine a full caseload. In jurisdictions where assigned counsel or contract attorneys also maintain private law practices, the caseload should be based on the percentage of time the lawyer devotes to public defense.

The experience of a particular attorney is a factor in the composition of cases in the attorney's caseload.

The following types of cases fall within the intended scope of the caseload limits for criminal and juvenile offender cases in Standard 3.4 and must be taken into account when assessing an attorney's numerical caseload: partial case representations, sentence violations, specialty or therapeutic courts, transfers, extraditions, representation of material witnesses, petitions for conditional release or final discharge, and other matters that do not involve a new criminal charge.

Definition of case: A case is defined as the filing of a document with the court naming a person as defendant or respondent, to which an attorney is appointed in order to provide representation. In courts of limited jurisdiction multiple citations from the same incident can be counted as one case.

3.4 Caseload Limits

The caseload of a full-time public defense attorney or assigned counsel should not exceed the following:

150 Felonies per attorney per year; or

300 Misdemeanor cases per attorney per year or, in jurisdictions that have not adopted a numerical case weighting system as described in this Standard, 400 cases per year; or

250 Juvenile Offender cases per attorney per year; or

80 open Juvenile Dependency cases per attorney; or

250 Civil Commitment cases per attorney per year; or

1 Active Death Penalty trial court case at a time plus a limited number of non death penalty cases compatible with the time demand of the death penalty case and consistent with the professional requirements of Standard 3.2 or

36 Appeals to an appellate court hearing a case on the record and briefs per attorney per year. (The 36 standard assumes experienced appellate attorneys handling cases with transcripts of an average length of 350 pages. If attorneys do not have significant appellate experience and/or the average transcript length is greater than 350 pages, the caseload should be accordingly reduced.)

Full time Rule 9 interns who have not graduated from law school may not have caseloads that exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the caseload limits established for full time attorneys. [Effective September 1, 2013]

3.5 Case Counting

The local government entity responsible for employing, contracting with or appointing public defense attorneys should adopt and publish written policies and procedures to implement a numerical case-weighting system to count cases. If such policies and procedures are not adopted and published, it is presumed that attorneys are not engaging in case weighting. A numerical case weighting system must:

A. recognize the greater or lesser workload required for cases compared to an average case based on a method that adequately assesses and documents the workload involved;

B. be consistent with these Standards, professional performance guidelines, and the Rules of Professional Conduct;

C. not institutionalize systems or practices that fail to allow adequate attorney time for quality representation; and

D. be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect current workloads; and

E. be filed with the State of Washington Office of Public Defense.

Cases should be assessed by the workload required. Cases and types of cases should be weighted accordingly. Cases which are complex, serious, or contribute more significantly to attorney workload than average cases should be weighted upwards. In addition, a case weighting system should consider factors that might justify a case weight of less than one case.

Notwithstanding any case weighting system, resolutions of cases by pleas of guilty to criminal charges on a first appearance or arraignment docket are presumed to be rare occurrences requiring careful evaluation of the evidence and the law, as well as thorough communication with clients, and must be counted as one case.

3.6 Case Weighting

The following are some examples of situations where case weighting might result in representations being weighted as more or less than one case. The listing of specific examples is not intended to suggest or imply that representations in such situations should or must be weighted at more or less than one case, only that they may be, if established by an appropriately adopted case weighting system.

A. Case Weighting Upwards: Serious offenses or complex cases that demand more-than-average investigation, legal research, writing, use of experts, use of social workers and/or expenditures of time and resources should be weighted upwards and counted as more than one case.

B. Case Weighting Downward: Listed below are some examples of situations where case weighting might justify representations being weighted less than one case. However, care must be taken because many such representations routinely involve significant work and effort and should be weighted at a full case or more.

i. Cases that result in partial representations of clients, including client failures to appear and recommencement of proceedings, preliminary appointments in cases in which no charges are filed, appearances of retained counsel, withdrawals or transfers for any reason, or limited appearances for a specific purpose (not including representations of multiple cases on routine dockets).

ii. Cases in the criminal or offender case type that do not involve filing of new criminal charges, including sentence violations, extraditions, representations of material witnesses, and other matters or representations of clients that do not involve new criminal charges. Non-complex sentence violations should be weighted as at least 1/3 of a case.

iii. Cases in specialty or therapeutic courts if the attorney is not responsible for defending the client against the underlying charges before or after the client's participation in the specialty or therapeutic court. However, case weighting must recognize that numerous hearings and extended monitoring of client cases in such courts significantly contribute to attorney workload and in many instances such cases may warrant allocation of full case weight or more.

iv. Cases on a criminal or offender first appearance or arraignment docket where the attorney is designated, appointed or contracted to represent groups of clients on that docket without an expectation of further or continuing representation and which are not resolved at that time (except by dismissal). In such circumstances, consideration should be given to adjusting the caseload limits appropriately, recognizing that case weighting must reflect that attorney workload includes the time needed for appropriate client contact and preparation as well as the appearance time spent on such dockets.

v. Representation of a person in a court of limited jurisdiction on a charge which, as a matter of regular practice in the court where the case is pending, can be and is resolved at an early stage of the proceeding by a diversion, reduction to an infraction, stipulation on continuance, or other alternative non-criminal disposition that does not involve a finding of guilt. Such cases should be weighted as at least 1/3 of a case.

Related Standards


American Bar Association, Standards for Criminal Justice, 4-1.2, 5-4.3.


American Bar Association Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases. [Link]


American Bar_Association, Ethical Obligations of Lawyers Who Represent Indigent Criminal Defendants When Excessive Caseloads Interfere With Competent and Diligent Representation, May 13, 2006, Formal Opinion 06-441. [Link]


The American Council of Chief Defenders Statement on Caseloads and Workloads, (2007). [Link]


American Bar Association Eight Guidelines of Public Defense Related to Excessive Caseloads. [Link]


National Advisory Commission on Criminal Standards and Goals, Task Force on Courts, 1973, Standard 13.12.


American Bar Association Disciplinary Rule 6-101.


American Bar Association Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System. [Link]


ABA Standards of Practice for Lawyers who Represent Children in Abuse & Neglect Cases, (1996) American Bar Association, Chicago, IL.


The American Council of Chief Defenders Ethical Opinion 03-01 (2003).


National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Standards for Defender Services, Standards IV-I.


National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Model Contract for Public Defense Services (2002). [Link]


NACC Recommendations for Representation of Children in Abuse and Neglect Cases (2001). [Link]


City of Seattle Ordinance Number: 121501 (2004). [Link]


Seattle-King County Bar Association Indigent Defense Services Task Force, Guideline Number 1.


Washington State Office of Public Defense, Parents Representation Program Standards Of Representation (2009). [Link]


Keeping Defender Workloads Manageable, Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, Indigent Defense Series #4 (Spangenberg Group, 2001). [Link]


5.2 Administrative Costs

A. Contracts for public defense services shall provide for or include administrative costs associated with providing legal representation. These costs should include but are not limited to travel, telephones, law library, including electronic legal research, financial accounting, case management systems, computers and software, office space and supplies, training, meeting the reporting requirements imposed by these standards, and other costs necessarily incurred in the day-to-day management of the contract.

B. Public defense attorneys shall have 1) access to an office that accommodates confidential meetings with clients and 2) a postal address, and adequate telephone services to ensure prompt response to client contact.

6.1 Investigators

Public defense attorneys shall use investigation services as appropriate.


Standard 13: Limitations on Private Practice


Private attorneys who provide public defense representation shall set limits on the amount of privately retained work which can be accepted. These limits shall be based on the percentage of a full-time caseload which the public defense cases represent.


Standard 14: Qualifications of Attorneys


14.1 In order to assure that indigent accused receive the effective assistance of counsel to which they are constitutionally entitled, attorneys providing defense services shall meet the following minimum professional qualifications:

A. Satisfy the minimum requirements for practicing law in Washington as determined by the Washington Supreme Court; and

B. Be familiar with the statutes, court rules, constitutional provisions, and case law relevant to their practice area; and

C. Be familiar with the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct; and

D. Be familiar with the Performance Guidelines for Criminal Defense Representation approved by the Washington State Bar Association; and

E. Be familiar with the consequences of a conviction or adjudication, including possible immigration consequences and the possibility of civil commitment proceedings based on a criminal conviction; and

F. Be familiar with mental health issues and be able to identify the need to obtain expert services; and

G. Complete seven hours of continuing legal education within each calendar year in courses relating to their public defense practice.

14.2 Attorneys' qualifications according to severity or type of case1:

A. Death Penalty Representation. Each attorney acting as lead counsel in a criminal case in which the death penalty has been or may be decreed and which the decision to seek the death penalty has not yet been made shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1; and

ii. At least five years criminal trial experience; and

iii. Have prior experience as lead counsel in no fewer than nine jury trials of serious and complex cases which were tried to completion; and

iv. Have served as lead or co-counsel in at least one aggravated homicide case; and

v. Have experience in preparation of mitigation packages in aggravated homicide or persistent offender cases; and

vi. Have completed at least one death penalty defense seminar within the previous two years; and

vii. Meet the requirements of SPRC 2.2

The defense team in a death penalty case should include, at a minimum, the two attorneys appointed pursuant to SPRC 2, a mitigation specialist and an investigator. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other experts and support personnel should be added as needed.

B. Adult Felony Cases - Class A

Each attorney representing a defendant accused of a Class A felony as defined in RCW 9A.20.020 shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1; and ii. Either:

a. has served two years as a prosecutor; or

b. has served two years as a public defender; or two years in a private criminal practice; and

iii. Has been trial counsel alone or with other counsel and handled a significant portion of the trial in three felony cases that have been submitted to a jury.

C. Adult Felony Cases - Class B Violent Offense

Each attorney representing a defendant accused of a Class B violent offense as defined in RCW 9A.20.020 shall meet the following requirements.

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1; and

ii. Either;

a. has served one year as a prosecutor; or

b. has served one year as a public defender; or one year in a private criminal practice; and

iii. Has been trial counsel alone or with other counsel and handled a significant portion of the trial in two Class C felony cases that have been submitted to a jury.

D. Adult Sex Offense Cases

A list of attorneys who meet the requirements of proficiency and experience, and who have demonstrated that they are learned in the law of capital punishment by virtue of training or experience, and thus are qualified for appointment in death penalty trials and for appeals will be recruited and maintained by a panel created by the Supreme Court. All counsel for trial and appeal must have demonstrated the proficiency and commitment to quality representation which is appropriate to a capital case. Both counsel at trial must have five years' experience in the practice of criminal law be familiar with and experienced in the utilization of expert witnesses and evidence, and not be presently serving as appointed counsel in another active trial level death penalty case. One counsel must be, and both may be, qualified for appointment in capital trials on the list, unless circumstances exist such that it is in the defendant's interest to appoint otherwise qualified counsel learned in the law of capital punishment by virtue of training or experience. The trial court shall make findings of fact if good cause is found for not appointing list counsel.

At least one counsel on appeal must have three years' experience in the field of criminal appellate law and be learned in the law of capital punishment by virtue of training or experience. In appointing counsel on appeal, the Supreme Court will consider the list, but will have the final discretion in the appointment of counsel. [Link]

Each attorney representing a client in an adult sex offense case shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1 and Section 2(C); and

ii. Been counsel alone of record in an adult or juvenile sex offense case or shall be supervised by or consult with an attorney who has experience representing juveniles or adults in sex offense cases.

E. Adult Felony Cases - All other Class B Felonies, Class C Felonies, Probation or Parole Revocation

Each attorney representing a defendant accused of a Class B felony not defined in Section 2 (C) or (D) above or a Class C felony, as defined in RCW 9A.20.020, or involved in a probation or parole revocation hearing shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1, and

ii. Either:

a. has served one year as a prosecutor; or

b. has served one year as a public defender; or one year in a private criminal practice; and

iii. Has been trial counsel alone or with other trial counsel and handled a significant portion of the trial in two criminal cases that have been submitted to a jury; and

iv. Each attorney shall be accompanied at his or her first felony trial by a supervisor if available.

F. Persistent Offender (Life Without Possibility of Release) Representation

Each attorney acting as lead counsel in a "two-strikes" or "three strikes" case in which a conviction_will result in a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1;3 and

ii. Have at least:

a. four years criminal trial experience; and

b. one year experience as a felony defense attorney; and

c. experience as lead counsel in at least one Class A felony trial; and

d. experience as counsel in cases involving each of the following:

1. Mental health issues; and

2. Sexual offenses, if the current offense or a prior conviction that is one of the predicate cases resulting in the possibility of life in prison without parole is a sex offense; and

3. Expert witnesses; and

4. One year of appellate experience or demonstrated legal

writing ability.

G. Juvenile Cases - Class A

Each attorney representing a juvenile accused of a Class A felony shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1, and

ii. Either:

a. has served one year as a prosecutor; or

b. has served one year as a public defender; one year in a private criminal practice; and

iii. Has been trial counsel alone of record in five Class B and C felony trials; and

iv. Each attorney shall be accompanied at his or her first juvenile trial by a supervisor, if available.

H. Juvenile Cases - Classes B and C

Each attorney representing a juvenile accused of a Class B or C felony shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1; and

ii. Either:

a. has served one year as a prosecutor; or

b. has served one year as a public defender; or one year in a private criminal practice, and

iii. has been trial counsel alone in five misdemeanor cases brought to a final resolution; and

iv. Each attorney shall be accompanied at his or her first juvenile trial by a supervisor if available.

I. Juvenile Sex Offense Cases

Each attorney representing a client in a juvenile sex offense case shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1 and Section 2(H); and

ii. Been counsel alone of record in an adult or juvenile sex offense case or shall be supervised by or consult with an attorney who has experience representing juveniles or adults in sex offense cases.

J. Juvenile Status Offenses Cases. Each attorney representing a client in a "Becca" matter shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements as outlined in Section 1; and

ii. Either:

a. have represented clients in at least two similar cases under the supervision of a more experienced attorney or completed at least three hours of CLE training specific to "status offense" cases; or

b. have participated in at least one consultation per case with a more experienced attorney who is qualified under this section.

K. Misdemeanor Cases

Each attorney representing a defendant involved in a matter concerning a simple misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor or condition of confinement, shall meet the requirements as outlined in Section 1.

L. Dependency Cases

Each attorney representing a client in a dependency matter shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements as outlined in Section 1; and

ii. Attorneys handling termination hearings shall have six months dependency experience or have significant experience in handling complex litigation.

iii. Attorneys in dependency matters should be familiar with expert services and treatment resources for substance abuse.

iv. Attorneys representing children in dependency matters should have knowledge, training, experience, and ability in communicating effectively with children, or have participated in at least one consultation per case either with a state Office of Public Defense resource attorney or other attorney qualified under this section.

M. Civil Commitment Cases

Each attorney representing a respondent shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1; and

ii. Each staff attorney shall be accompanied at his or her first 90 or 180 day commitment hearing by a supervisor; and

iii. Shall not represent a respondent in a 90 or 180 day commitment hearing unless he or she has either:

a. served one year as a prosecutor, or

b. served one year as a public defender, or one year in a private civil commitment practice, and

c. been trial counsel in five civil commitment initial hearings; and

iv. Shall not represent a respondent in a jury trial unless he or she has conducted a felony jury trial as lead counsel; or been co-counsel with a more experienced attorney in a 90 or 180 day commitment hearing.

N. Sex Offender "Predator" Commitment Cases

Generally, there should be two counsel on each sex offender commitment case. The lead counsel shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1; and ii. Have at least:

a. Three years criminal trial experience; and

b. One year experience as a felony defense attorney or one year experience as a criminal appeals attorney; and

c. Experience as lead counsel in at least one felony trial; and

d. Experience as counsel in cases involving each of the following:

1. Mental health issues; and

2. Sexual offenses; and

3. Expert witnesses; and

e. Familiarity with the Civil Rules; and

f. One year of appellate experience or demonstrated legal writing ability.

Other counsel working on a sex offender commitment cases should meet the Minimum Requirements in Section 1 and have either one year experience as a public defender or significant experience in the preparation of criminal cases, including legal research and writing and training in trial advocacy.

O. Contempt of Court Cases

Each attorney representing a respondent shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1; and

ii. Each attorney shall be accompanied at his or her first three contempt of court hearings by a supervisor or more experienced attorney, or participate in at least one consultation per case with a state Office of Public Defense resource attorney or other attorney qualified in this area of practice.

P. Specialty Courts

Each attorney representing a client in a specialty court (e.g., mental health court, drug diversion court, homelessness court) shall meet the following requirements:

i. The minimum requirements set forth in Section 1; and

ii. The requirements set forth above for representation in the type of practice involved in the specialty court (e.g., felony, misdemeanor, juvenile); and

iii. Be familiar with mental health and substance abuse issues and treatment alternatives.

14.3 Appellate Representation.

Each attorney who is counsel for a case on appeal to the Washington Supreme Court or to the Washington Court of Appeals shall meet the following requirements:

A. The minimum requirements as outlined in Section 1; and

B. Either:

i. has filed a brief with the Washington Supreme Court or any Washington Court of Appeals in at least one criminal case within the past two years; or

ii. has equivalent appellate experience, including filing appellate briefs in other jurisdictions, at least one year as an appellate court or federal court clerk, extensive trial level briefing or other comparable work.

C. Attorneys with primary responsibility for handling a death penalty appeal shall have at least five years' criminal experience, preferably including at least one homicide trial and at least six appeals from felony convictions, and meet the requirements of SPRC 2.

RALJ Misdemeanor Appeals to Superior Court: Each attorney who is counsel alone for a case on appeal to the Superior Court from a Court of Limited Jurisdiction should meet the minimum requirements as outlined in Section 1, and have had significant training or experience in either criminal appeals, criminal motions practice, extensive trial level briefing, clerking for an appellate judge, or assisting a more experienced attorney in preparing and arguing an RALJ appeal.

14.4 Legal Interns

A. Legal interns must meet the requirements set out in APR 9.

B. Legal interns shall receive training pursuant to APR 9 and in offices of more than seven attorneys, an orientation and training program for new attorneys and legal interns should be held.

1 Attorneys working toward qualification for a particular category of cases under this standard may associate with lead counsel who is qualified under this standard for that category of cases.

2 SPRC 2 APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

At least two lawyers shall be appointed for the trial and also for the direct appeal. The trial court shall retain responsibility for appointing counsel for trial. The Supreme Court shall appoint counsel for the direct appeal. Notwithstanding RAP 15.2 (f) and (h), the Supreme Court will determine all motions to withdraw as counsel on appeal.


3 RCW 10.101.060 (1)(a)(iii) provides that counties receiving funding from the state Office of Public Defense under that statute must require "attorneys who handle the most serious cases to meet specified qualifications as set forth in the Washington state bar association endorsed standards for public defense services or participate in at least one case consultation per case with office of public defense resource attorneys who are so qualified. The most serious cases include all cases of murder in the first or second degree, persistent offender cases, and class A felonies."


CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE

"Applicable Standards" required by CrR 3.1/CrRLJ 3.1/JuCR 9.2



For criminal and juvenile offender cases, a signed certification of compliance with Applicable Standards must be filed by an appointed attorney by separate written certification on a quarterly basis in each court in which the attorney has been appointed as counsel.

The certification must be in substantially the following form:


SEPARATE CERTIFICATION FORM

______Court of Washington

for

Certification of

Appointed

Counsel of Compliance

with Standards Required

by CrR 3.1/CrRLJ

3.1/JuCR 9.2


The undersigned attorney hereby certifies:

1. Approximately ___% of my total practice time is devoted to indigent defense cases.

2. I am familiar with the applicable Standards adopted by the Supreme Court for attorneys appointed to represent indigent persons and that:

a. Basic Qualifications: I meet the minimum basic professional qualifications in Standard 14.1.

b. Office: I have access to an office that accommodates confidential meetings with clients, and I have a postal address and adequate telephone services to ensure prompt response to client contact, in compliance with Standard 5.2.

c. Investigators: I have investigators available to me and will use investigation services as appropriate, in compliance with Standard 6.1.

d. Caseload: I will comply with Standard 3.2 during representation of the defendant in my cases. [Effective 9/1/13: I should not accept a greater number of cases (or a proportional mix of different case types) than specified in Standard 3.4, prorated if the amount of time spent for indigent defense is less than full time, and taking into account the case counting and weighting system applicable in my jurisdiction.]


Defendant's Lawyer, WSBA# Date

Reviser's note: The brackets and enclosed material in the text of the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above material occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office