Senate Bill No. 727
(By Senator Bowman)
[Introduced March 21, 2005; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §29-21-16a, relating
to imposing an administrative fee on persons receiving court-
appointed counsel; and requiring circuit clerk to make reports
concerning the fees.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §29-21-16a, to read as
ARTICLE 21. PUBLIC DEFENDER SERVICES.
§29-21-16a. Administrative fee; report by circuit clerk.
(a)(1) A person, who is provided with services under this
article, shall be assessed by the court at the time of appointment
of counsel a nonrefundable administrative fee in the amount of
twenty-five dollars. The administrative fee shall be assessed only one time per case and shall be waived or reduced by the court upon
a finding that the defendant lacks financial resources sufficient
to pay the fee. The administrative fee is payable, at the court's
discretion, in a lump sum or in installments. The fee shall be
paid prior to disposition of the case or within two weeks following
appointment of counsel, whichever occurs first. Prior to
disposition of the case, the circuit clerk shall inform the judge
whether the administrative fee assessed by the court has been
collected. Failure to pay the administrative fee assessed by the
court shall not reduce or in any way affect the rendering of
services by court-appointed counsel.
(2) The administrative fee is separate from and in addition to
any other repayment assessed pursuant to section sixteen of this
(3) The circuit clerk shall retain a commission of five
percent of each dollar of administrative fees collected and shall
transmit the remaining ninety-five percent of each dollar to the
State Treasurer for deposit in the State's General Fund.
(3) If the administrative fee is not paid prior to disposition
of the case, then the fee shall be collected in the same manner as
costs are collected under section sixteen of this article. The
administrative fee shall be collected even if the charges against
the person are dismissed.
(b) Each circuit clerk, who is responsible for collecting administrative fees pursuant to this section, shall annually, by
the thirty-first day of July, file an annual report with the court
and with the Executive Director of Public Defender Services. The
report shall indicate the following:
(1) Number of defendants for whom the court appointed counsel;
(2) Number of defendants for whom the court waived the
(3) Number of defendants from whom the clerk collected
(4) Total amount of commissions retained by the clerk from the
administrative fees; and
(5) Total amount of administrative fees forwarded by the clerk
to the State Treasurer.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to
impose an administrative
fee of $25 on persons receiving court appointed counsel. The bill
also requires circuit clerks to make reports concerning the fees.
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.