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TRAFFIC ARRAIGNMENTS AND EVICTION HEARINGS WILL RESUME
OPERATIONS AT 
375 SOUTH HIGH STREET JULY 6, 2021.

 
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Court Appointed Counsel

Find out who qualifies, the process, and how to apply.

 

The Court maintains a list of attorneys in private practice who are willing to accept appointments for cases in the Franklin County Municipal Court that are subject to a conflict with the Franklin County Public Defender's Office.

Attorneys can apply to be on the standard Court Appointed Counsel List and the Appellate Appointed Counsel List as well as elect to receive OVI cases.

Qualifications


In order to apply, attorneys must meet the following requirements per Local Rule 16.02:

  • Be a licensed Ohio attorney in good standing for at least one year
  • Have completed at least six (6) hours of continuing legal education in municipal court criminal practice and procedure (Optional: attorneys wishing to be appointed to misdemeanor OVI cases must have completed at least six (6) hours of continuing legal education in OVI practice and procedure)
  • Have experience as lead counsel or co-counsel on ten (10) or more criminal/traffic cases - of the ten cases, at least five (5) must be as lead counsel
  • Have practiced in the Franklin County Municipal Court within the past year
  • Maintain professional liability (malpractice) insurance in the amount equal to the minimum coverage required by the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct

On occasion, the Court needs attorneys who are willing to accept appointment as counsel for criminal and traffic appeals originating in the Franklin County Municipal Court.

Please note that because these circumstances occur infrequently, attorneys on this list may only be appointed to one (1) case every five years or so. This rotation is separate from the general rotation on non-OVI cases. Applicants must meet the same requirements for the regular appointed counsel list as well as have experience with criminal appeals.

The Process

  1. Applications are accepted twice a year, in June and December.
  2. Applicants must complete the application along with submitting a resume, Certificate of Compliance, copy of their Ohio Supreme Court CLE transcript, professional liability insurance declaration page, and a photo (*headshot in .jpg, .jpeg, or .png format).
  3. Applications are reviewed by a committee of Judges and Court staff.
  4. Attorneys who are accepted by the Court will complete an orientation and then will begin receiving cases on a rotating basis.

Forms

Contact Information

Paula Gruber, Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator
375 S. High St., 10th Fl. Columbus, OH 43215
gruberp@fcmcclerk.com
(614) 645-3789
Defendants who need counsel for a criminal misdemeanor must contact the Public Defender’s Office at (614) 525-3194


Helpful Links

FAQ

I received a notice of appearance regarding a revocation hearing for a client I previously represented. What should I do?
Contact the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator in advance of the hearing. Just because a defendant was previously qualified for appointed counsel does not automatically mean they still qualify for representation, or that a conflict still exists. The defendant would need to go to the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office for a determination of indigency and conflict screening, and you must be reappointed. Do not enter your appearance on the case until the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator tells you to do so.
I received a notice of appearance for a previous appointment where the defendant failed to appear. What should I do?
Contact the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator in advance of the court date. Depending on the amount of time lapsed, the defendant may need to go to the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office for a determination of indigency and conflict screening. Do not enter your appearance on the case until the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator tells you to do so.
I contacted the defendant and she/he said they have retained their own attorney. What should I do?
Verify that said attorney has entered as attorney of record. You may turn in a motion for payment for the time you have worked. You will be appointed to a replacement case.
I was appointed to a case and discovered this defendant has an additional open case (or has a warrant on another case). Should I just handle the new case?
No. First, contact the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator who will check with the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office to verify that a conflict exists for any additional cases. If a conflict exists, the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator will file the necessary paperwork to appoint you. Do not enter your appearance on any case until the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator tells you to do so.
I represent a defendant on a juvenile (or felony) case and they have a case in municipal court. May I be appointed?
Maybe. An appointed-counsel case in another court does not automatically mean the Public Defender’s Office has a conflict of interest in this court. The defendant would need to go to the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office for a determination of indigency and conflict screening. If the defendant qualifies for representation and there is a conflict with the Public Defender’s Office for the municipal case, the defendant may request a particular attorney. Requests are honored when it will also assist the Court. Do not enter your appearance on any case until the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator tells you to do so.
A defendant I previously represented on a court-appointed case contacted me regarding a new case.
Contact the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator in advance of the court date. Just because a defendant was previously qualified for appointed counsel does not automatically mean they still qualify for representation, or that a conflict still exists. The defendant would need to go to the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office for a determination of indigency and conflict screening, and you must be reappointed. Do not enter your appearance on the case until the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator tells you to do so. If the defendant qualifies for representation and there is a conflict with the Public Defender’s Office, the defendant may request a particular attorney. Requests are honored when it will also assist the Court.
Does the attorney need to submit a Financial Disclosure Form with a motion for payment?
Sometimes. You will be told at the time you are appointed whether or not you will need to submit a Financial Disclosure Form with your motion for payment. Often, defendants have already completed a Financial Disclosure Form with the assistance of the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office. These completed forms are then sent over to the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator and kept until the appointed attorney submits a motion for payment. 

However, defendants appearing in courtroom 4D do not usually sufficiently complete the Financial Disclosure Forms, and you will have to assist these defendants in completing a form that you will submit with your motion for payment. 
I was appointed to a case and subsequently discovered that the defendant is not actually indigent. What should I do?
Contact the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator who will verify that the defendant does not qualify for court-appointed counsel. Once this is verified, you can file a motion to withdraw from the case. Please also contact the defendant and advise him or her to attend all future court dates and hire their own counsel. You will be appointed to a replacement case.
What expenses may I bill for?
Copies and postage are the most frequently claimed expenses. Parking and travel are generally not reimbursable. If in doubt, ask the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator. Also, don’t forget that all expenses must be itemized. Expenses totaling $1.00 or less do not require a receipt. Expenses totaling between $1.00 and $100.00 require a receipt, but do not require prior approval. Expenses totaling between $100.00 and $2,500.00 require a receipt and prior approval of the assigned judge. Expenses over $2,500.00 require a receipt and prior approval of both the assigned judge and the Administrative Judge.
Do I need to attach the conflict entry to my fee request?
No. The Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator maintains copies of conflict entries for reference, if needed.