Amended Statewide Rules on Court-Appointed Lawyers Take Effect Jan. 1
The Supreme Court of Ohio has amended statewide rules governing court-appointed lawyers and others representing or acting on behalf of people in court and in legal proceedings. The rules take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
Rule 8 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio currently requires courts to make sure there’s an “equitable distribution” when it comes to these appointments. The amendment defines equitable as “a system through which appointments are made in an objectively rational, fair, neutral, and nondiscriminatory manner” from a list of pre-qualified persons.
Also included in the rule changes are a set of five factors a court must take into account when making appointments:
- The complexity of the case.
- Any language, educational, or other challenges facing the defendant.
- The relevant experience of the attorney.
- The avoidance of any conflicts of interest or other situations that could delay the case.
- Intangible factors, including a potential appointee’s commitment to providing timely, quality representation to the client.
The amendments do not apply to the appointment of any of the following persons:
- Acting judges.
- An arbitrator, mediator, investigator, psychologist, interpreter, or other expert in a case.
- Persons appointed to serve in a non-judicial public office.
- Guardians ad litem.
The amendments were proposed by the Advisory Committee on Case Management Subcommittee on Court Appointments with input from lawyers and judges, and are meant to allow Ohio judges to retain local control over appointments while encouraging best practices and improving the current system.
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