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Georgia Code Title 17. Criminal Procedure § 17-12-5

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(a) To be eligible for appointment as the director, a candidate shall be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia with at least seven years' experience in the practice of law.  The director shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

(b)(1) The director shall work with and provide support services and programs for circuit public defender offices and other attorneys representing indigent persons in criminal or juvenile cases in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of legal representation of such persons and otherwise fulfill the purposes of this chapter.  Such services and programs shall include, but shall not be limited to, technical, research, and administrative assistance;  educational and training programs for attorneys, investigators, and other staff;  assistance with the representation of indigent defendants with mental disabilities;  assistance with the representation of juveniles;  assistance with death penalty cases;  and assistance with appellate advocacy.

(2) The director may establish divisions within the office to administer the services and programs as may be necessary to fulfill the purposes of this chapter.  The director shall establish a mental health advocacy division and the Georgia capital defender division.

(3) The director may hire and supervise such staff employees and may contract with outside consultants on behalf of the office as may be necessary to provide the services contemplated by this chapter.

(c) The director shall have and may exercise the following power and authority:

(1) The power and authority to take or cause to be taken any or all action necessary to perform any duties, responsibilities, or functions which the director is authorized by law to perform and to exercise any power or authority which the council is authorized under subsection (a) of Code Section 17-12-4 to exercise;  and

(2) The power and authority to assist the council in the performance of its duties, responsibilities, and functions and the exercise of its power and authority.

(d) The director shall:

(1) Prepare and submit to the council a proposed budget for the council.  The director shall also prepare and submit an annual report containing pertinent data on the operations, costs, and needs of the council and such other information as the council may require;

(2) Develop such procedures as the director determines may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter;

(3) Administer and coordinate the operations of the council;

(4) Maintain proper records of all financial transactions related to the operation of the council;

(5) At the director's discretion, solicit and accept on behalf of the council any funds that may become available from any source, including government, nonprofit, or private grants, gifts, or bequests;

(6) Coordinate the services of the council with any federal, county, or private programs established to provide assistance to indigent persons in cases subject to this chapter;

(7) Provide for the training of attorneys and other staff involved in the legal representation of persons subject to this chapter;

(8) Attend all council meetings, except those meetings or portions thereof that address the question of appointment or removal of the director;

(9) Ensure that the expenditures of the council are not greater than the amounts budgeted or available from other revenue sources;

(10) Hire or remove a mental health advocate who shall serve as director of the division of the office of mental health advocacy;

(11) Hire or remove the capital defender who shall serve as the director of the division of the office of the Georgia capital defender;  and

(12) Evaluate each circuit public defender's job performance.

(e) The director shall not:

(1) Provide direct legal representation to any person entitled to services pursuant to this chapter;  and

(2) Engage in the private practice of law for profit.

Cite this article: - Georgia Code Title 17. Criminal Procedure § 17-12-5 - last updated April 14, 2021 |

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