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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 01-1035




Appointment of Counsel Policies and Procedures and Revised Fee Bill; Administrative Doc. No. 2 May 2001

[31 Pa.B. 3186]


   Now, this 21st day of May, 2001, upon recommendation of the Court's Committee on Appointed Counsel, it is hereby Ordered that the policy regulating the appointment of counsel in all Criminal cases before the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County is adopted for appointments of counsel made on or after July 1, 2001.

   It is further Ordered that the District Court Administrator of Allegheny County publicize this policy in the Pennsylvania Bulletin forthwith.

By the Court

Administrative Judge

Policies and Procedures Governing Court Appointed Counsel

I.  General Guidelines

   A.  The appointment of counsel for criminal cases shall be at the discretion of each Common Pleas Judge and shall require a written motion of the Public Defender of Allegheny County setting forth the basis for conflict. The Office of Public Defender, upon reasonable notice of the court, shall make itself available to the Appointment Judge.

   B.  The Criminal Division shall maintain a list of eligible attorneys available for appointments. Attorneys interested in being considered for appointments shall submit a letter and summary of criminal defense experience to the Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division.

   C.  Immediately upon appointment, counsel shall prepare the Appointment Order (form 24A) for judicial signature and shall file this Order with an Entry of Appearance in the Clerk of Courts Office. Copies of the Appointment Order shall be provided to the Appointing Judge and District Court Administrator.

   D.  The Administrative Judge shall make all appointments of counsel to eligible cases in which there has been no assignment of a Common Pleas Judge. This shall include but is not limited to Preliminary Hearings.

   E.  Attorneys receiving appointments agree to accept and adhere to the policies and procedures as set forth in this document including the Pro Bono section.

II.  Fee Schedule

A.Necessary Preparation$50.00 per hour
B.Court Appearance
1.   Full Court Day$500.00
2.   Half Court Day$250.00
C.Expert Fees
1.   Preparation$50.00 per hour
2.   Full Court Day$500.00
3.   Half Court Day$250.00
D.Investigator Fees$30.00 per hour
E.Post Conviction Relief Act
$50.00 per hour

III.  Fee Guidelines

   Court-appointed invoices in excess of the following amounts shall require the approval and signature of both the appointment Judge and the Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division.

A.Homicide Cases$5,000.00
B.Jury Trials (non-homicide)$3,000.00
C.Non-Jury Trial$1,000.00
D.Pleas$   750.00
E.Preliminary Hearings$   250.00
F.Expert Fees$1,500.00
G.Investigator Fees$   500.00
H.Post Conviction Relief Act

IV.  Pro Bono Program

A.Attorneys accepting appointments under this program shall participate in pro bono work.
B.Participating attorneys shall submit one pro bono invoice for every four appointments (25%). Attorneys submitting invoices must designate the pro bono case upon submission of the invoice to the appointing judge.
C.The Criminal Division shall maintain a record of all appointments and enforce this policy. Failure to comply with the Pro Bono requirements may result in designation by the court of pro bono work upon invoices received.
D.The District Court Administrator shall report quarterly to the Judges of the Criminal Division concerning the Pro Bono work of all participating attorneys.

V.  Billing Guidelines

A.All invoices shall be submitted by appointed counsel to the Appointment Judge and must be submitted on Firm letterhead to include address and telephone number, be dated, and take the following form:
1.A chronological listing of appointment work with dates, amount of time devoted to the legal work, and associated expense
2.Clearly identify miscellaneous expenses (copying, postage, etc.) and include actual receipts
3.Include statements of services rendered by experts and investigators
4.Attach a copy of the Order of Appointment and Entry of Appearance.
5.Include a completed Payment Order (Form 24B) for execution by the Appointing Judge and Administrative Judge, if necessary.
B.Counsel must submit requests for payment within 60 days of case completion. For the purpose of this policy, case completion shall be defined as:
1.Not Guilty Verdict
2.Sentencing (if no post-sentence motions)
3.Disposition of post-sentence motions
4.Dismissal/Withdrawal of Charges (Includes Preliminary Hearing)
5.Disposition of Post Conviction Hearing Act Petition
6.Acceptance into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition/Probation Without Verdict Programs
7.Disposition of Appeal
C.The following limitations are established by the policy:
1.The Court will not reimburse for preparation on the same day as the trial/plea/ARD
2.The Court will not reimburse for more than two 1/2 days nor one full day per attorney per day
3.The Court will not reimburse for a full day in Criminal Court if counsel has submitted an invoice for work performed in another Division of the Court on the same day.

VI.  Billing Procedures

A.Upon approval of counsel's request for payment, the Criminal Division shall forward the required documents to the Office of Court Administrator, Fiscal Affairs Department.
B.The Fiscal Affairs Department shall promptly review the documents and post the transaction to the Court's respective account, prepare a payment voucher, and forward to the Office of County Controller.
C.The Court will make every effort to assure payment within 14 days of receipt of the invoice.
D.The following issues may cause delay in prompt payment and or rejection of any expense or invoice:
1.Failure to submit within the established time restraints
2.Failure to submit required receipts
3.Failure to notify the Fiscal Affairs Department of a change of address
4.Failure to correctly complete a W-9 form
5.Failure to comply with any provision of this policy
6.Inquiry of the Court's Fiscal Affairs Department
7.Controller Office inquiry
E.The Fiscal Affairs Department shall make every effort to resolve any issue with counsel. In the event resolution is not made, the matter shall be referred to the District Court Administrator or his designee. Counsel shall be paid for any portions of the invoice not under review. The District Court Administrator, in consultation with the appointing Judge and Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division, shall attempt to resolve the issue promptly.
F.The Fiscal Affairs Department shall not have discretion to resolve any invoices submitted beyond established time restraints. Counsel shall be notified of the matter and may petition the appointing Judge for relief.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 01-1035. Filed for public inspection June 15, 2001, 9:00 a.m.]

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