HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.C.R. NO.

171

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 
   


HOUSE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

REQUESTING THE CREATION OF A TASK FORCE TO RESOLVE ISSUES RELATED TO COURT-APPOINTED COUNSEL IN HAWAII.

 

 

WHEREAS, the American ideal of justice has always been based on equal access to the courts; and

WHEREAS, it is fundamental to our system of justice that resolution of legal actions be completed on a timely basis, leading to the coining of the truism, "justice delayed is justice denied"; and

WHEREAS, the constitutional right to counsel in certain criminal and civil cases, and the right to speedy trial have given rise to the need for court-appointed counsel; and

WHEREAS, there have been reported difficulties in the Hawaii court system in which alleged long delays in the processing of court-appointed fees and costs requests may be a factor in attorneys refusing to accept such cases; and

WHEREAS, fees for court-appointed counsel appear to be below prevailing market rates, thus compounding the disincentive for private counsel to accept court-appointed cases; and

WHEREAS, justice demands that the dearth of attorneys willing to serve as court-appointed counsel be remedied; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2002, the Senate concurring, that the Office of the Public Defender is requested to convene a task force to address:

(1) Whether there are unreasonably long delays in receiving payment by court-appointed counsel and, if so, the reasons therefor; and

(2) What remedies, if any, exist to mitigate these issues;

and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Office of the Public Defender is requested to include on the task force, representatives from the Judiciary, court-appointed trial counsel, court-appointed appellate counsel, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Office of the Public Defender, the Attorney General, and the Director of Budget and Finance; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force is requested to submit its report to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2003; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court; the Administrative Director of the Courts, who in turn is requested to distribute copies to all court-appointed trial and appellate counsel; the President of the Hawaii State Bar Association; the Office of the Public Defender; the Attorney General; the Prosecuting Attorney; and the Comptroller.

 

 

 

Report Title:

Task Force, Court-appointed Counsel