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General Laws

Section 1. There shall be a committee for public counsel services, hereinafter referred to as the committee, to plan, oversee, and coordinate the delivery of criminal and certain noncriminal legal services by salaried public counsel, bar advocate and other assigned counsel programs and private attorneys serving on a per case basis. The committee shall consist of 15 persons: 2 of whom shall be appointed by the governor; 2 of whom shall be appointed by the president of the senate; 2 of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; and 9 of whom shall be appointed by the justices of the supreme judicial court, 1 of whom shall have experience as a public defender, 1 of whom shall have experience as a private bar advocate, 1 of whom shall have criminal appellate experience, 1 shall have a background in public administration and public finance, and 1 of whom shall be a current or former dean or faculty member of a law school. The court shall request and give appropriate consideration to nominees for the 9 positions from the Massachusetts Bar Association, county bar associations, the Boston Bar Association and other appropriate bar groups including, but not limited to, the Massachusetts Black Lawyers’ Association, Inc., Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Inc., and the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers, Inc.

All members of the committee shall have a strong commitment to quality representation in indigent defense matters or have significant experience with issues related to indigent defense. The committee shall not include presently serving judges, elected state, county or local officials, district attorneys, state or local law enforcement officials or public defenders employed by the commonwealth. The term of office of each member of the committee shall be 4 years. Members of the committee may be removed for cause by the justices of the supreme judicial court. Vacancies shall be filled by the appointing authority that made the initial appointment to the unexpired term of the appointee within 60 days of the occurrence of the vacancy. An appointee shall continue in office beyond the expiration date of the appointee’s term until a successor in office has been appointed and qualified. While serving on the committee, no member shall be assigned or appointed to represent indigent defendants before any court of the commonwealth. No member shall receive any compensation for service on the committee, but each member shall be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in attending the committee meetings.

Chapter 268A shall apply to all members, officers and employees of the committee, except that the committee may provide representation or enter into a contract pursuant to section 3 or section 6, although a member of the committee may have an interest or involvement in any such matter if such interest and involvement is disclosed in advance to the other members of the committee and recorded in the minutes of the committee; provided, however, that no member having an interest or involvement in any contract under section 3 may participate in any particular matter, as defined in section 1 of chapter 268A, relating to such contract.

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