2007 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Miles
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-32-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR RECOUPMENT OF INDIGENT DEFENSE COSTS WHEN A DEFENDANT IS FOUND NOT TO BE INDIGENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 25-32-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-32-9. (1) When any person shall be arrested and charged with a felony, a misdemeanor or an act of delinquency, then the arresting authority shall afford such person an opportunity to sign an affidavit stating that such person is an indigent and unable to employ counsel. Upon the signing of such affidavit by such person, the public defender shall represent said person unless the right to counsel be waived by such person. Provided further, a statement shall be executed by the alleged indigent, under oath, listing all assets available to the indigent for the payment of attorney's fees, including the ownership of any property, real or personal, and setting out therein the alleged indigent's employment status, number of dependents, income from any source, the ability of his parents or spouse to provide an attorney's fee, and any other information which might prove or disprove a finding of indigency. The affidavit and statement shall be a part of the record in the case and shall be subject to review by the appropriate court. Based on review of the affidavit, statement or other appropriate evidence, if the appropriate court finds that the defendant is not indigent, said court shall terminate the representation of the defendant by the public defender and direct that the assets of the defendant be used to pay all fees and costs incurred by the attorney appointed to provide representation for the defendant.
When any person shall be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, the presiding judge or justice, upon determination that the person is indigent as provided in this section, and that representation of the indigent is required, shall appoint the public defender whose duty it shall be to provide such representation. No person determined to be an indigent as provided in this section shall be imprisoned as a result of a misdemeanor conviction unless he was represented by the public defender or waived the right to counsel.
(2) The accused shall have such representation available at every critical stage of the proceedings against him where a substantial right may be affected.
(3) The public defender shall also represent persons in need of mental treatment, as provided under Sections 41-21-61 et seq. The chancery court may tax costs as provided in Sections 41-21-79 and 41-21-85.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.