Borough of Buena, NJ
Atlantic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 3-17-1998 by Ord. No. 452]
There is hereby created within the Borough of Buena the position of Municipal Public Defender. Appointment to this position shall be made by the Mayor of the Borough of Buena, with the consent of Council. The person so appointed shall serve for a term of one year, and until his successor is appointed and qualified.
The person appointed to the position of Municipal Public Defender shall be an attorney at law of the State of New Jersey in good standing and need not reside in the Borough of Buena. It shall be the duty of the Municipal Public Defender to represent, except in the case of temporary unavailability or conflict of interest, any defendant charged with an offense in the Municipal Court who is an indigent municipal defendant entitled to representation pursuant to the provisions of P.L. 1997, Chapter 256.[1] The Municipal Public Defender shall be responsible for handling all phases of the defense, including but not limited to discovery, pretrial and post-trial hearings, motions, removals to Federal District Court and other collateral functions reasonably related to the defense. However, post-trial hearings shall not include de novo appeals in the Superior Court, and the Municipal Public Defender shall not be required by this article to take such an appeal.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 2B:24-1 et seq.
The Municipal Public Defender shall receive compensation as may be determined from time to time by the Council of the Borough of Buena as set forth in the Salary Ordinance adopted each year by Council.[1] The Borough Council shall provide a professional services agreement which shall set forth the duties and compensation of the Municipal Public Defender, which compensation shall be in lieu of any and all other compensation to be paid to the Municipal Public Defender by the Borough. The professional services agreement shall set forth any additional compensation to be paid for interlocutory appeals in the Superior Court.
[1]
Editor's Note: The current Salary Ordinance is on file in the Borough offices.
The Municipal Public Defender may represent private clients in any municipality, including the Borough of Buena, subject to the rules of court governing the conduct of lawyers.
The Borough of Buena shall provide all necessary services and facilities of representation, including both expert and lay investigation and testimony, as well as other preparations needed for the proper representation of indigents represented by the Public Defender in the Borough of Buena Municipal Court. The Borough shall be responsible for payment for services pursuant to this section. However, the factors of need and real value to a defendant shall be weighed against the financial constraints of the municipality in determining the necessary services and facilities of representation. The final determination as to necessity for services required pursuant to this section shall be made by the Municipal Court Judge, upon application of the Public Defender. In no event, however, shall the Borough of Buena be responsible to pay for expert and lay investigation or testimony as required by this section prior to March 22, 1999, a period of one year after the effective date of P.L. 1997, c. 256.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 2B:24-1 et seq.
The Municipal Court Judge shall determine those cases in which an applicant for representation is eligible to be represented by the Borough of Buena Municipal Public Defender. However, the Municipal Public Defender shall represent an indigent defendant charged in Municipal Court with a crime as specified in N.J.S.A. 2B:12-18, or if, in the opinion of the Municipal Court, there is a likelihood that the defendant, if convicted with any other offense, will be subject to imprisonment or other consequence of magnitude, the Municipal Public Defender shall represent such indigent defendant.
If there is a vacancy in the office of the Municipal Public Defender, or if the Municipal Public Defender is temporarily unavailable, or if there is a conflict of interest which precludes the duly appointed Municipal Public Defender from representing an indigent defendant, the Municipal Prosecutor may prosecute the offense if the Municipal Court appoints a qualified attorney to represent the indigent defendant. In such case, the attorney appointed to represent the indigent defendant shall be entitled to compensation at the same rate as the Municipal Public Defender is paid pursuant to the Borough's Salary Ordinance and the terms of his contract, and payment shall be made within 30 days after submission of a voucher certifying the services rendered by said attorney. Once appointed, the attorney so appointed shall carry out all duties of the Municipal Public Defender in connection with the case which is the subject of such appointment.
A. 
Any person applying for representation by a Municipal Public Defender or by a court-approved attorney in the Borough of Buena Municipal Court shall pay an application fee of not more than $200, provided that the fee to be paid shall only be in an amount necessary to pay the costs of the Municipal Public Defender's services. In accordance with guidelines promulgated by the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Municipal Court Judge may waive any required application fee, in whole or in part, only if the Court determines, in its discretion, upon a clear and convincing showing by the applicant, that the application fee represents an unreasonable burden on the person seeking representation. The Municipal Court may permit a person to pay the application fee over a specific period of time not to exceed four months.
B. 
Funds collected pursuant to Subsection A of this section shall be deposited in a dedicated fund administered by the Chief Financial Officer of the Borough of Buena. Such funds shall be used exclusively to meet the cost incurred in providing the services of a Municipal Public Defender, including, when required, expert and lay investigation and testimony.
C. 
Beginning in 1999, if it is determined by the Division of Local Government Services during its annual review of the Borough's municipal budget that the amount of money in the dedicated fund to be established pursuant to this article exceeds by more than 25% the amount which the municipality expended during the prior year to provide the services of a Municipal Public Defender, the amount in excess of the amount expended shall be forwarded to the Criminal Disposition and Review Collection Fund administered by the Victims of Crime Compensation Board.
D. 
Whenever a person entitled to representation by a Municipal Public Defender pursuant to P.L. 1997, c. 256,[1] is under the age of 18 years, the eligibility for services shall be determined on the basis of the financial circumstances of the individual and the financial circumstances of the individual's parents or legal guardians. The municipality shall be entitled to recover the cost of legal services from the parents or legal guardians of the indigent applicant, and the Municipal Court shall have authority to require the parents or legal guardians to execute and deliver the written request or authorization required under applicable law in order to provide the court with access to records of public or private sources, otherwise confidential, as may be of aid to it in evaluating eligibility.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 2B:24-1 et seq.
E. 
If a defendant who is represented by the Municipal Public Defender or court-approved counsel appointed by the Municipal Court Judge pursuant to an application for representation has or reasonably expects to have means to meet some part, though not all, of the cost of the services rendered, the defendant shall be required to reimburse the Borough of Buena, either by a single payment or installments in such amounts as he can reasonably be expected to pay, but no default or failure in making payment shall affect or reduce the rendering of services.
The Borough of Buena shall have a lien on any property to which a defendant who is represented by the Municipal Public Defender or court-appointed counsel shall have or acquire an interest for an amount equal to the reasonable value of the services rendered to a defendant pursuant to P.L. 1997, c. 256, as calculated at the same rate as the Office of the Public Defender bills clients at that time. To effectuate such a lien for the Borough, the Municipal Attorney shall file a notice setting forth services rendered to the defendant and the reasonable value thereof with the Clerk of the Superior Court. Within 10 days of filing the notice, the Municipal Attorney shall send by certified mail, or serve personally, a copy of the notice with a statement of the date of the filing to or upon the defendant at the defendant's last known address. If the Municipal Attorney shall fail to give such notice, the lien shall be void. The Municipal Attorney is hereby authorized to compromise and settle any claim for services performed pursuant to this article whenever the financial circumstances of the person receiving the services are such that, in the judgment of the Municipal Attorney, the best interest of the state will be served by compromise and settlement.