This page, Rule 8: Appointment and Compensation of Attorneys , is part of
This page, Rule 8: Appointment and Compensation of Attorneys , is offered by
District/Municipal Courts Supplemental Rules of Criminal Procedure

District/Municipal Courts Supplemental Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 8: Appointment and Compensation of Attorneys

Effective Date: 02/01/1981


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Rule 108

If it is necessary for the court to appoint private counsel at the Commonwealth's expense pursuant to the requirements of Rule 8 of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure, other than counsel participating in bar-sponsored, approved indigent representation programs, such appointment shall be in made in accordance with this rule.

(1) Every division shall maintain a list of attorneys who have offered to represent defendants pursuant all appointment by the court. Said list shall be part of the public records of the court open during regular business hours to public inspection. Any attorney may have his name placed on said list, whether or not he is a member of any bar association, provided that the court shall be satisfied that the attorney is geographically located so as to insure his reasonable availability to the court and to defendants brought before the court. Law firms shall not be listed as such.

(2) All appointments of attorneys shall be made from said list. The court shall, except in exceptional circumstances, appoint the attorney whose name next appears on said list, and may appoint said attorney to represent more than one defendant before proceeding to the next name. The court shall make appointments in such a way and for such periods of time as to insure the equal participation of all attorneys and to avoid favored treatment of any attorney.

(3) An attorney may withdraw his name from said list by communicating in writing with the Presiding Justice of the division. The name of an attorney may be removed from said list by the Presiding Justice of the division if he is satisfied that the appointment of said attorney under this rule would not be in the interest of justice.

(4) An attorney appointed to represent a defendant pursuant to this rule shall be personally responsible for the representation of said defendant at every stage of the District Court proceedings, except as may be otherwise provided in paragraph 7. Should new counsel subsequently be appointed by the District Court, the first appointed counsel shall respond cooperatively to any reasonable request for information by subsequently appointed counsel.

(5) An attorney appointed under this rule shall be entitled to compensation at a rate not to exceed thirty-five Mars ($35.00) per hour for time expended in court actually engaged in an evidentiary hearing or actual trial, and at a rate not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per hour for other time reasonably expended with a maximum of one hour for any one court appearance and, unless authorized in advance by the court, a maximum of five hours for preparation or other services out of court. The amount of time billed shall not, as the result of counsel representing codefendants, exceed the total amount of time actually expended  In addition, such counsel may be reimbursed for expenses reasonably incurred when authorized by the court before the expenses are incurred.

(6) Except as provided in paragraphs 7 and 8, compensation based on the nature of the offense or offenses charged, the number of offenses charged, a diem rate or any formula other than that contained in paragraph 5, is expressly prohibited.

(7) In the event an insufficient number of attorneys come forward to offer to represent defendants in accordance with the foregoing provisions, the Presiding Justice of the division shall certify that fact to the Chief Justice of the District Court Department and all recommend in writing an alternate plan which shall not require a greater expenditure of funds for implementation than would the plan outlined above. No such alternate plan shall be put into effect without the approval of the Chief Justice of the District Court Department and the Chief Administrative Justice.

(8) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this rule, the court may enter into such arrangements as it deems appropriate to provide an organized system for the immediate representation of defendants at arraignment. Attorneys participating in such system may be compensated in a manner other than as provided in paragraph 5. This paragraph contemplates a plan whereby one attorney is assigned to represent all defendants at arraignment on a given day or days, said assignments to be distributed fairly among counsel wishing to participate. Appointment at arraignment of counsel who will not be trial counsel is not permitted except as provided in this paragraph.

(9) An attorney's bill for services shall be submitted to the clerk of the court within thirty days of termination of services. A separate bill shall be rendered for each defendant. Said bill shall be in the form prescribed by the Chief Justice of the District Court Department, but an attorney shall supply any additional information on the nature and extent of his services as the Presiding Justice of the court shall require. Failure to file a bill promptly shall be grounds for removal of the attorney from the list.

(10) No attorney appointed as counsel pursuant to this rule shall request or accept any payment or promise of payment from any other source for representing the defendant, except as ordered by the court.