Statutory AuthorityVirginia Code § 19.2-163.01 requires the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission to compile and maintain a list of attorneys qualified to represent accused persons who are in need of criminal indigent defense services.
UNDER CODE OF VIRGINIA, §19.2-163.01, THE COMMISSION SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING POWERS AND DUTIES
- To publicize and enforce the qualification standards for attorneys seeking eligibility to serve as court-appointed counsel for indigent defendants pursuant to § 19.2-159.
- To develop initial training courses for attorneys who wish to begin serving as court-appointed counsel, and to review and certify legal education courses that satisfy the continuing requirements for attorneys to maintain their eligibility for receiving court appointments.
- To maintain a list of attorneys admitted to practice law in Virginia who are qualified to serve as court-appointed counsel for indigent defendants based upon the official standards and to disseminate the list by July 1 of each year and updates throughout the year to the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court for distribution to the courts. In establishing and updating the list, the Commission shall consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to, the attorney’s background, experience, and training and the Commission’s assessment of whether the attorney is competent to provide quality legal representation.
- To establish official standards of practice for court-appointed counsel and public defenders to follow in representing their clients, and guidelines for the removal of an attorney from the official list of those qualified to receive court appointments and to notify the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of any attorney whose name has been removed from the list.
- To develop initial training courses for public defenders and to review and certify legal education courses that satisfy the continuing requirements for public defenders to maintain their eligibility.
MISDEMEANOR, FELONY AND JUVENILE CERTIFICATION QUALIFICATIONS
§ 19.2-163.03. Qualifications for court-appointed counsel.
NOTE: For Juvenile case requirements, VIDC will only approve cases in which the attorney was involved from the beginning of the case to its final resolution. The attorney must represent a juvenile defendant. A case may be deemed to be concluded for purpose of certification once deferred disposition is entered. Post trial matters such as probation violations and failing to comply will not qualify. NOTE: For the purposes of the certification requirements, “Co-Counsel” participates with lead counsel in every critical aspect of the representation of the defendant. Co-counsel is not necessarily counsel of record.B. Requalification requirements. After initially qualifying as provided in subsection A, an attorney shall maintain his eligibility for certification biennially by notifying the Commission of completion of at least eight hours of Commission and MCLE-approved continuing legal education, two of which shall cover the representation of individuals with behavioral or mental health disorders and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities as defined in § 37.2-100. The Commission shall provide information on continuing legal education programs that have been approved. In addition, to maintain eligibility to accept court appointments under subdivision C 2 of § 16.1-266, an attorney shall complete biennially thereafter four additional hours of MCLE-approved continuing legal education on representing juveniles, certified by the Commission. C. Waiver and exceptions. The Commission or the court before which a matter is pending, may, in its discretion, waive the requirements set out in this section for individuals who otherwise demonstrate their level of training and experience. A waiver of such requirements pursuant to this subsection shall not form the basis for a claim of error at trial, on appeal, or in any habeas corpus proceeding.