Appointment of Counsel in Criminal Cases

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Appointment of Counsel in Criminal Cases

   A. Purpose: This rule is to establish a process for the appointment of private attorneys to represent indigent defendants as provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 29-3901 to 29-3908.

   B. Applicability: This rule shall not apply to criminal proceedings in which the Court appoints the Public Defender or the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy.

   C. General:

   (1) Appointments of private attorneys shall be made on an impartial and equitable basis;

   (2) The appointments shall be distributed among the attorneys on a rotation system;

   (3) Cases shall be assigned to attorneys of sufficient experience, skill, and competence to render effective assistance of counsel to defendants;

   (4) Complex cases shall be assigned to attorneys with sufficient levels of experience and competence to provide adequate representation; and

   (5) Less-experienced attorneys should be assigned cases which are within their capabilities, but should be given the opportunity to expand their experience under supervision.

   D. Court-Appointed Attorney List:

   (1) Each County Court shall maintain a court-appointed attorney list from which attorneys shall be appointed to represent indigent defendants.

   (2) Attorneys shall contact the County Court of each county in which they wish to be considered for court appointments, request the Clerk Magistrate to place them on the court-appointed list, and indicate whether they will accept misdemeanor and/or felony appointments. Attorneys shall also contact the County Court when they no longer wish to receive court appointments.

   (3) The County Court shall make the court-appointed list of attorneys available upon request.

   E. Method of Selection From Court-Appointed List:

   (1) The Court will generally attempt to appoint attorneys from the court-appointed attorney list on a rotational basis, subject to the Court’s sole discretion to make exceptions due to:

   (a) the nature and complexity of the case;

   (b) an attorney’s experience;

   (c) the nature and disposition of the defendant;

   (d) a language consideration;

   (e) a conflict of interest;

   (f) the availability of an attorney, taking into consideration an immediate need to address issues involved in the case;

   (g) geographical considerations; and

   (h) other relevant factors that may be involved in a specific case.

   (2) If the Court in its sole discretion varies from the rotation basis, it may appoint any qualified attorney, whether or not the attorney is on the court-appointed attorney list.

   F. Removal and Reinstatement From Appointment List:

   (1) Judges will monitor attorney performance on a continuing basis to ensure the competency of attorneys on the list. An attorney may be removed from the appointment list by a majority vote of the county court judges.

   (2) If an attorney is under consideration for removal from the list, written notification will be given indicating the concerns with the attorney’s performance giving rise to consideration for removal, and the attorney will be given the opportunity to respond in writing or in person before a final decision is made.

   (3) An attorney who has been removed from the list may be considered for reinstatement by a majority vote of the judges, after the deficiencies contained in the notice have been resolved.

Approved January 22, 2015.