Section 6: Public defender and private counsel divisions; duties
Section 6. (a) In carrying out its duties as prescribed in section 5, the committee shall utilize its staff of attorneys, which shall be known hereafter as the public defender division. The division shall include a unit to be known as the Roxbury defenders unit, which shall represent clients as assigned pursuant to this chapter in the Roxbury division of the district court department. The public defender division shall be assigned to represent indigent defendants in all criminal cases, except that: (i) the public defender division shall not be assigned to represent more than 1 defendant in any matter before any court on the same case or arising out of the same incident; (ii) the public defender division shall not be assigned to represent a defendant in any case in which there is a conflict of interest with any of its clients; (iii) notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the public defender division shall be assigned in any civil or criminal matter described in subsection (b) if the chief counsel determines in writing that insufficient numbers of qualified attorneys are available for assignment by the private counsel division.
(b) In carrying out its duties as prescribed in section 5, the committee shall establish, supervise and maintain a system for the appointment of private counsel, hereafter called the private counsel division, which shall include a children and family law program and a mental health unit. The committee shall enter into contractual agreements with any state, county or local bar association or voluntary charitable group, corporation or association, including bar advocate groups, for the purpose of providing such counsel. The committee may also contract with such other organized groups of attorneys as may be formed to afford representation to indigent defendants and may appoint and compensate private attorneys, on a case-by-case basis, as counsel for indigents entitled to representation. No individual, member or participant in a group, corporation or association with whom the committee may contract under this paragraph shall be considered to be or have any rights as a state employee.
The private counsel division shall be assigned for all persons accused of crimes entitled to counsel who, through their inability to pay for counsel, shall have counsel appointed to them, but who, pursuant to subsection (a) shall not be represented by the public counsel division.
The private counsel division shall also be assigned to represent persons in such other proceedings as the chief counsel shall determine to be necessary.