Since 1989, the Indiana Public Defender Commission has existed to recommend standards for indigent defense in capital cases, to adopt guidelines of salary and fee schedules for individual county reimbursement eligibility, and to review and approve requests for reimbursement in capital cases. In 1993, the responsibility of the Commission was expanded to include the adoption of guidelines and standards for county reimbursement eligibility in non-capital cases.
The Commission is comprised of 11 members: 3 are appointed by the Governor; 3 are appointed by the Chief Justice; 1 member is appointed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute; 2 are members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House; and 2 are members of the Senate appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
The entire Commission meets quarterly to review claims, authorize reimbursement to eligible counties and discuss issues that arise with the goal of empowering local assigned counsel systems with the funding and support to provide the highest quality legal representation possible.
In capital (death penalty) cases, all Indiana counties may receive reimbursement for 50 percent of applicable expenses.
In other cases where a right to counsel exists, eligible counties may receive up to 40 percent reimbursement for indigent criminal defense costs conditioned upon compliance with guidelines and caseload standards.