2006 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A; Appropriations
By: Representative Flaggs, Blackmon
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 99-40-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CREATE THE STATE FUNDED POSITION OF INDIGENT JUVENILE APPEALS RESOURCE COUNSEL WITHIN THE MISSISSIPPI OFFICE OF INDIGENT APPEALS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 99-40-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-40-1. (1) There is created the Mississippi Office of Indigent Appeals. This office shall consist of six (6) attorneys, two (2) secretaries/paralegals and one (1) financial assistant. One (1) of the attorneys shall serve as director of the office. The director shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve for a term of four (4) years. The remaining attorneys and other staff shall be appointed by the director and shall serve at the will and pleasure of the director. The director and all other attorneys in the office shall either be active members of The Mississippi Bar, or, if a member in good standing of the bar of another jurisdiction, must apply to and secure admission to The Mississippi Bar within twelve (12) months of the commencement of the person's employment by the office. The attorneys in the office shall practice law exclusively for the office and shall not engage in any other practice. The office shall not engage in any litigation other than that related to the office. The salary for the director shall be equivalent to the salary of district attorneys and the salary of the other attorneys in the office shall be equivalent to the salary of assistant district attorney.
(2) The office shall provide representation on appeal for indigent persons convicted of felonies but not under sentences of death. Representation shall be provided by staff attorneys, or, in the case of conflict or excessive workload, by attorneys selected, employed and compensated by the office on a contract basis. All fees charged by contract counsel and expenses incurred by attorneys in the office and contract counsel must be approved by the court. At the sole discretion of the director, the office may also represent indigent juveniles adjudicated delinquent on appeals from a county court or chancery court to the Mississippi Supreme Court and/or the Mississippi Court of Appeals. The office shall provide advice, education and support to attorneys representing persons under felony charges in the trial courts.
(3) There is created in the State Treasury a special fund to be known as the Indigent Appeals Fund. The purpose of the fund shall be to provide funding for the Mississippi Office of Indigent Appeals. Monies from the funds derived from assessments under Section 99-19-73 shall be distributed by the State Treasurer upon warrants issued by the Mississippi Office of Indigent Appeals. The fund shall be a continuing fund, not subject to fiscal-year limitations, and shall consist of:
(a) Monies appropriated by the Legislature for the purposes of funding the Office of Indigent Appeals;
(b) The interest accruing to the fund;
(c) Monies received under the provisions of Section 99-19-73;
(d) Monies received from the federal government;
(e) Donations; and
(f) Monies received from such other sources as may be provided by law.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.