Colorado Legislative Council Staff


(Replaces fiscal impact dated April 5, 1999)

Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 99-0820

Rep. McPherson

Sen. Blickensderfer


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

April 16, 1999

Senate Judiciary

Kirk Mlinek (303-866-4784)



Summary of Legislation

            The bill adds a new subsection to 21-2-103, C.R.S., concerning cases involving conflicts of interest for the State Public Defender. To request withdrawal from a case due to a conflict of interest, the State Public Defender would be required to submit to the court having jurisdiction over the case a motion specifically describing the nature of the conflict of interest. If ethical obligations prevent a specific description of the nature of the conflict of interest, the public defender would be required to cite the legal authority for the determination and that portion of the motion would be sealed. Should an issue arise later as to whether or not an actual conflict of interest existed, the sealed portion of the motion may be opened and examined by the original judge, or another judge if necessary to prevent the violation of the ethical obligation.

            Upon review of the motion, the court would then determine whether a conflict exists that would require withdrawal of the State Public Defender and appointment of the Alternate Defense Counsel. Case overload, lack of resources, and other similar circumstances would not constitute a conflict of interest. As amended by the House, lack of competence has been deleted from the specific circumstances that may not be cited as a condition that could cause a conflict of interest.

            If withdrawal by the State Public Defender is allowed and the Alternate Defense Counsel is appointed, and it is later determined that no conflict existed, the office of the State Public Defender must reimburse the office of the Alternate Defense Counsel for the cost of representation.

            The deletion of lack of competence as a specific circumstance that may not be cited as a condition that could cause a conflict of interest eliminates the conditional fiscal impact of the proposed legislation as previously indicated. The ability to cite lack of competence as the reason for a conflict of interest represents current practice. Hence, the bill does not affect the revenues or expenditures of any state departments and is, therefore, assessed as having no fiscal impact.

            The fiscal note implies that no appropriations are necessary for FY 1999-00.

Departments Contacted

            Public Defender Alternate Defense Counsel Judicial