Code Section

Penal Code - PEN

PART 2. OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE [681 - 1620]

  ( Part 2 enacted 1872. )
  

TITLE 6. PLEADINGS AND PROCEEDINGS BEFORE TRIAL [976 - 1054.10]

  ( Heading of Title 6 amended by Stats. 1951, Ch. 1674. )
  

CHAPTER 1. Of the Arraignment of the Defendant [976 - 993]
  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1872. )

  
987.2.  

(a) In any case in which a person, including a person who is a minor, desires but is unable to employ counsel, and in which counsel is assigned in the superior court to represent the person in a criminal trial, proceeding, or appeal, the following assigned counsel shall receive a reasonable sum for compensation and for necessary expenses, the amount of which shall be determined by the court, to be paid out of the general fund of the county:

(1) In a county or city and county in which there is no public defender.

(2) In a county of the first, second, or third class where there is no contract for criminal defense services between the county and one or more responsible attorneys.

(3) In a case in which the court finds that, because of a conflict of interest or other reasons, the public defender has properly refused.

(4) In a county of the first, second, or third class where attorneys contracted by the county are unable to represent the person accused.

(b) The sum provided for in subdivision (a) may be determined by contract between the court and one or more responsible attorneys after consultation with the board of supervisors as to the total amount of compensation and expenses to be paid, which shall be within the amount of funds allocated by the board of supervisors for the cost of assigned counsel in those cases.

(c) In counties that utilize an assigned private counsel system as either the primary method of public defense or as the method of appointing counsel in cases where the public defender is unavailable, the county, the courts, or the local county bar association working with the courts are encouraged to do all of the following:

(1) Establish panels that shall be open to members of the State Bar of California.

(2) Categorize attorneys for panel placement on the basis of experience.

(3) Refer cases to panel members on a rotational basis within the level of experience of each panel, except that a judge may exclude an individual attorney from appointment to an individual case for good cause.

(4) Seek to educate those panel members through an approved training program.

(5) Establish a cost-efficient plan to ensure maximum recovery of costs pursuant to Section 987.8.

(d) In a county of the first, second, or third class, the court shall first utilize the services of the public defender to provide criminal defense services for indigent defendants. In the event that the public defender is unavailable and the county and the courts have contracted with one or more responsible attorneys or with a panel of attorneys to provide criminal defense services for indigent defendants, the court shall utilize the services of the county-contracted attorneys prior to assigning any other private counsel. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to require the appointment of counsel in any case in which the counsel has a conflict of interest. In the interest of justice, a court may depart from that portion of the procedure requiring appointment of a county-contracted attorney after making a finding of good cause and stating the reasons therefor on the record.

(e) In a county of the first, second, or third class, the court shall first utilize the services of the public defender to provide criminal defense services for indigent defendants. In the event that the public defender is unavailable and the county has created a second public defender and contracted with one or more responsible attorneys or with a panel of attorneys to provide criminal defense services for indigent defendants, and if the quality of representation provided by the second public defender is comparable to the quality of representation provided by the public defender, the court shall next utilize the services of the second public defender and then the services of the county-contracted attorneys prior to assigning any other private counsel. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to require the appointment of counsel in any case in which the counsel has a conflict of interest. In the interest of justice, a court may depart from that portion of the procedure requiring appointment of the second public defender or a county-contracted attorney after making a finding of good cause and stating the reasons therefor on the record.

(f) In any case in which counsel is assigned as provided in subdivision (a), that counsel appointed by the court and any court-appointed licensed private investigator shall have the same rights and privileges to information as the public defender and the public defender investigator. It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this subdivision to equalize any disparity that exists between the ability of private, court-appointed counsel and investigators, and public defenders and public defender investigators, to represent their clients. This subdivision is not intended to grant to private investigators access to any confidential Department of Motor Vehicles’ information not otherwise available to them. This subdivision is not intended to extend to private investigators the right to issue subpoenas.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, where an indigent defendant is first charged in one county and establishes an attorney-client relationship with the public defender, defense services contract attorney, or private attorney, and where the defendant is then charged with an offense in a second or subsequent county, the court in the second or subsequent county may appoint the same counsel as was appointed in the first county to represent the defendant when all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The offense charged in the second or subsequent county would be joinable for trial with the offense charged in the first if it took place in the same county, or involves evidence which would be cross-admissible.

(2) The court finds that the interests of justice and economy will be best served by unitary representation.

(3) Counsel appointed in the first county consents to the appointment.

(h) The county may recover costs of public defender services under Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 4750) of Title 5 of Part 3 for any case subject to Section 4750.

(i) Counsel shall be appointed to represent, in a misdemeanor case, a person who desires but is unable to employ counsel, when it appears that the appointment is necessary to provide an adequate and effective defense for the defendant. Appointment of counsel in an infraction case is governed by Section 19.6.

(j) As used in this section, “county of the first, second, or third class” means the county of the first class, county of the second class, and county of the third class as provided by Sections 28020, 28022, 28023, and 28024 of the Government Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 784, Sec. 540. Effective January 1, 2003.)