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Governor Signs Bill Creating Statewide Indigent Defense Commission

6/12/2017 10:00:00 AM

Governor Brian Sandoval has signed SB 377 creating the Nevada Right to Counsel Commission culminating a 10 year effort by the Supreme Court of Nevada to improve the delivery of indigent defense services in Nevada.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael A. Cherry will serve as a nonvoting member of the 13-person Commission, which will conduct a study to determine the issues relating to the representation of indigent persons. The Commission will benefit from information learned by the Supreme Court since 2007 when it created its own Indigent Defense Commission, with Justice Cherry serving as chair of that commission.

An indigent person is anyone charged with a public offense unable to afford legal representation.

“Everyone in our state deserves an attorney regardless of their ability to pay for that representation,” Chief Justice Cherry said. “Thanks to the Governor and the Legislature, this Commission will create the standards needed to create a statewide system especially in our rural communities. It is time we did this and I am pleased we’re moving forward.”

The Commission will look at the caseload and workload of defense counsel, minimum standards for legal representation of indigent defendants, and how to fund a statewide indigent defense system.

A total of $230,000 has been appropriated to the Supreme Court for expenses related to the Commission’s work.