TBA Law Blog


Posted by: Elizabeth Todaro on Jan 1, 2018

Journal Issue Date: Jan 2018

Journal Name: January 2018 - Vol. 54, No. 1

The Tennessee Indigent Representation Task Force report contains recommendations regarding much-needed additional funding resources as well as eight specific areas for reform. These recommendations include:

  • Completing a statewide data and reporting system to ensure the availability of timely and complete information required to manage and oversee the programs;
  • Seriously considering the creation of an independent central commission to oversee all programs providing legal representation to eligible adults and children and transferring current programs to the new commission;
  • Developing and implementing uniform statewide criteria and procedures for determining eligibility for services;
  • Amending Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 13 to eliminate the distinction between out-of-court and in-court compensation rates, to eliminate case caps and the “complex and extended” designation procedure, and to increase the rate paid to appointed private counsel to an hourly rate not less than $75 nor more than $125;
  • Enacting a statutory requirement that public defenders be appointed to represent eligible parties in criminal and delinquency proceedings unless the public defender has a conflict of interest;
  • Appropriating sufficient funds to the District Public Defenders to enable them to represent as many defendants in criminal proceedings and children in delinquency proceedings as possible;
  • Considering alternatives to appointing private counsel in cases where the District Public Defender has a conflict of interest; and
  • Adjusting Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 13’s caps on compensation paid to experts to market rates.

 — Liberty & Justice for All: Providing Right to Counsel Services in Tennessee, April 2017.

The Indigent Representation Task Force

Members of the Indigent Representation Task Force and Advisory Council gather with then-Chief Justice Sharon Lee in April 2016. From left: Judge Vicki S. Snyder, Rep. William Lamberth, Susan Mattson, Lela Hollabaugh, Jason Gichner, Judge Loyce Lambert Ryan, Task Force Chair Bill Koch, Torry Johnson, DarKenya Waller, Lee, Dwight Tarwater, Mark A. Mesler II.

Members of the Indigent Representation Task Force and Advisory Council gather with then-Chief Justice Sharon Lee in April 2016. From left: Judge Vicki S. Snyder, Rep. William Lamberth, Susan Mattson, Lela Hollabaugh, Jason Gichner, Judge Loyce Lambert Ryan, Task Force Chair Bill Koch, Torry Johnson, DarKenya Waller, Lee, Dwight Tarwater, Mark A. Mesler II.

William C. Koch Jr., Chair
President and Dean,
Nashville School of Law

Lela Hollabaugh
Partner,
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

Judge Deanna Bell Johnson
Circuit Court Judge, 21st Judicial District

Susan L. Kay
Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and
Clinical Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School

Rep. William Lamberth
State House District 44

Susan Mattson (non-voting member)
Principle Legislative Research Analyst,
Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury

Mark A. Mesler II
Attorney,
Rosenblum and Reisman Law Firm

Judge Loyce Lambert Ryan
Shelby County General Sessions Court
   
Judge Vicki S. Snyder
Henry County General Sessions Court

Judge Barry A. Steelman
Criminal Court Judge,
11th Judicial District

Sen. John Stevens
State District 24

Dwight Tarwater
General Counsel,
Tennessee Office of the Governor

DarKenya Waller
Managing Attorney,
Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

Advisory Council

Jason Gichner
Attorney,
Morgan & Morgan Law Firm

Victor (Torry) Johnson III
Visiting Professor of Law,
Belmont University College of Law

Christina A. Zawisza
Professor and Director of Child and Family Litigation Clinic,
Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Organizational Staff

David Carroll, Executive Director,
Sixth Amendment Center Research & Consulting Services

Rachel Harmon
General Counsel,
Administrative Office of the Courts

Candi Henry
Partner,
Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella PC

Ceesha Lofton
Legal Project Assistant,
Administrative Office of the Courts

Virginia Tabor
Paralegal,
Administrative Office of the Courts

Lacy Wilber
Assistant General Counsel,
Administrative Office of the Courts

Michele Wojciechowski
Director of Communications and Engagement,
Nashville School of Law