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Personnel Handbook

November 18, 2015Handbooks

Arkansas Public Defender Commission History

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The Arkansas Public Defender Commission was created by Act 1193 of 1993 (see also Ark. Code Ann. 16-87-201 through 214), hereinafter referred to as “Commission” or “APDC”. The Commission was initially created to address a myriad of problems and concerns related to the representation of indigent criminal defendants in Arkansas. The Commission consists of seven members, each of whom is appointed by the Governor. The primary mission of the Commission is to assure adequate, effective and zealous representation to all indigent persons who are at risk of a loss of liberty through some type of Court proceeding. Though our mission has remained the same since 1993, various changes since then have expanded its scope a great deal.

The passage of Act 1341 of 1997, and Act 925 of 1997, now Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 37.5 greatly amplified the Commission's duties and responsibilities. On January 1, 1998, the State of Arkansas began taking over the responsibility for the funding of the public defender system. On that date, the responsibility for funding and operating the public defender system shifted from the Counties to the State, via the Commission. In addition to paying the salaries for all public defender attorneys, some support staff, and all private attorneys appointed to indigents, the Commission began paying the expenses for all expert assistance furnished to indigents defendants. Over the past year , these payments have increased substantially.

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