This bill, raised by the General Assembly, aims to expand access to public defender services. It replaces and adds new language to section 51-297 of the general statutes. The bill defines an "indigent defendant" as a person who is formally charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment and does not have the financial ability to secure legal representation and necessary expenses. It also includes children who have a right to counsel and individuals who have a right to counsel under specific sections of the law. The bill further states that an assessment to determine if a person qualifies as an indigent defendant shall be based on guidelines established by the commission. These guidelines will consider a person's income, calculated as a percentage of the federal poverty level, and will be made available to the public on the Division of Public Defender Services' website.
The effective date of this act is October 1, 2023, and it will amend section 51-297(f) of the general statutes. The bill has received joint favorable recommendations from the Judiciary and Appropriations Committees.