TBA Law Blog


Posted by: Jenny Jones on Aug 18, 2015

TO:                 PARTIES INTERESTED IN INDIGENT
                       REPRESENTATION FUNDING INITIATIVE

FROM:           BRENDA GADD, TBA PUBLIC POLICY COORDINATOR

DATE:            AUGUST 10, 2015

SUBJECT:     UPDATE ON STATUS OF INDIGENT REPRESENTATION
                       RAISE THE RATE EFFORTS

This is an update on the status of the indigent representation raise the rate efforts by the TBA and its coordinated efforts with the Tennessee Supreme Court. This also serves as my introduction to you as your new public policy coordinator. I am looking forward to working with each of you! Please feel free to contact me anytime. 

As you know, the TBA initiated the indigent representation legislation earlier this year SB1009 by Harris, Dickerson/HB1025 by Stewart, Farmer that requires rules adopted by the supreme court that establish compensation rates for appointed counsel of indigent defendants set a minimum hourly rate of $100. At the close of the legislative session and great testimony by

TBA member Bridgett Wilhite and after follow up by Legislative Counsel, we asked our sponsors to defer consideration until 2016. Thus the status of the legislation in the Senate and House was as follows:  

  • SB1009 by Harris, Dickerson/HB1025 by Stewart, Farmer (requires that rules adopted by the supreme court establish compensation rates for appointed counsel be increased) Status - 03/24/15 - Taken off notice in Senate Judiciary Committee; House Status - 03/25/15 - House Civil Justice Subcommittee deferred to 2016; and, 
  • The other effort by the Tennessee Supreme Court aimed at creating a task force to address indigent representation passed the Senate and stalled in the House (SB41/HB144)

The Court, working with the legislation sponsors and the TBA, was able to ensure a commitment to the task force. The Tennessee Supreme Court has, as recently as just a couple of days ago, committed to this task force. The TBA has sent over several names as recommendations to serve on the task force. We expect the task force to be appointed in the next few weeks with an anticipated, initial meeting in early September. We have been informed there will be TBA member representation on the task force. In addition, TBA staff will be preparing to advocate and will monitor the activities of the task force.  

 In the meantime, I will stay in touch via email and conference call with updates, and next steps as we move into the upcoming legislative year.