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Frequently Asked Questions

Payment for Indigent Defense Services


Question: What is the Payment for Indigent Defense Services on the Rhode Island Supreme Court Attorney Portal?

Answer:   It is an online service for submitting an invoice(s) and receiving payment for legal representation as court appointed counsel.


Question: How do I apply to be on a court appointment panel(s)?

Answer:   You can submit a Court Appointment Certification application online via the Rhode Island Supreme Court Attorney Portal at www.courts.ri.gov.


Question: How is an attorney selected from an indigent defense service panel?

Answer:   Appointments from an indigent defense service panels are made by the respective courts after the filing of written certification by the Office of the Public Defender of the person's inability to pay for counsel and a conflict of interest by the office in accepting the individual as a client. Appointments from the Family Court guardian ad litem for child protection and wayward/delinquency panels are made only after written certification of a conflict of interest by the Office of the Court Appointed Special Advocate. Appointments from a panel are be made in accordance with a rotating system with some noted exceptions outlined in Executive Order 2013-07. No payments shall be made for any indigent defense services performed in the absence of a written certification of conflict.


Question: Do I need to recertify each year?

Answer:   Yes. Recertification is required annually and can be submitted online via the Court Appointment Recertification application located on the Rhode Island Supreme Court Attorney Portal at www.courts.ri.gov. Counsel who fail to recertify by August 15 of each year must again complete the original certification process to be appointed to the panels.


Question: Can I be removed from an indigent defense panel once approved?

Answer:   The acceptance or denial of a certification or recertification application or the removal of any attorney for whatever reason from a court appointment panel is within the discretion of the chief justice, presiding justice, or the chief judge of each court.


Question: What are the rates of compensation for indigent defense representation?

Answer:   The rates of compensation are set forth in Executive Order 2013-07


Question: What if my fee for a case exceeds the threshold amount?

Answer:   Payment in excess of the threshold amounts are made upon recommendation of the trial justice or judge presiding over the case at disposition, but final determination of payment shall be made by the chief justice, presiding justice, or chief judge of the respective court.


Question: When can I submit my request for payment?

Answer:   You must submit your payment request in the following instances: 1) No later than thirty (30) days after from disposition date; 2) No later than thirty (30) days after new counsel enters an appearance in the case; 3) No later than thirty (30) days after counsel's service is discontinued on the case; and/or 4) In cases where partial payment is permitted. Requests for payment that are submitted after the above- mentioned time periods will not be approved for payment.


Question: When is partial payment permitted?

Answer:   There are three (3) instances when partial payment is permitted. First, in the Family Court, payment requests shall be submitted by the 30th of each month for services rendered. Second, in lengthy cases where counsel has worked on the matter for more than one (1) year, counsel may submit a timesheet for services rendered to date and is allowed to do so for each subsequent year or until final disposition. Third, in cases where a defendant fails to appear and a warrant has been issued, counsel may submit a timesheet for partial payment six (6) months from the date of the warrant issuance.


Question: Will I be able to submit multiple timesheets at a time?

Answer:   Yes. You can submit timesheets for multiple cases.


Question: How long will it take to approve my timesheet once it is completed?

Answer:   Timesheets will be checked and approved on a daily basis. Provided that there are no issues requiring denial of the timesheet, payment can be expected within thirty (30) days from approval.


Question: Will I be notified if there is a problem with my timesheet?

Answer:   If your timesheet is denied by the Supreme Court Finance Office, there is no recourse. Your timesheet may also be sent back to you to make the appropriate corrections or resubmission. Corrected timesheets must be submitted for approval to the Supreme Court Finance Office through the Payment for Indigent Defense Services on the Rhode Island Supreme Court Attorney Portal.


Question: What would be the reason that my timesheet would be denied?

Answer:   Timesheets can be denied for various reasons such as: case not disposed; refusal to accept payment reduction; not on indigent defense services panel; not appointed counsel on case; disposition date greater than thirty (30) days; and for an exception to the threshold amount.


Question: Do I still need a signature from the trial justice or judge for my timesheet?

Answer:   A signature is required only if you exceed the threshold amount. In that case, the Supreme Court Finance Office will submit the timesheet to the trial justice or judge who presided over the case for approval. The final determination of payment shall be made by the chief justice, presiding justice, or chief judge of the respective court.


Question: Do I have to notify the Supreme Court Finance Office of any changes to my contact information?

Answer:   Yes. The Supreme Court Finance Office will then notify the State of Rhode Island Office of Accounts and Control of your change of address to ensure that all checks are mailed to the correct address.


Question: Will I be able to check the status of my payments?

Answer:   Yes. You will be able to log on to the Payment for Indigent Defense Services on the Rhode Island Supreme Court Attorney Portal at any time to view your submitted and approved timesheets and to check the status of your payments.


Question: Can I be paid through direct deposit?

Answer:   Yes. A direct deposit form must be filled out with a voided bank check attached and sent to the Supreme Court Finance Office. The Finance Office will forward the form to the State of Rhode Island Office of Accounts and Control. Forms are available on the Indigent Defense Timesheet Menu.


Question: Can I submit expenses such as copying or transcripts?

Answer:   Yes. Copy and transcript fees are reimbursable expenses. Please retain documentation supporting any of your expenses.


Question: Who do I contact with any questions about the Indigent Defense Portal?

Answer:   Please contact the Supreme Court Finance Office at (401) 275-6529 or via email at indigentdefenseinfo@courts.ri.gov.


Question: Will there be any training on how to use the Payment for Indigent Defense Services on the Rhode Island Supreme Court Attorney Portal?

Answer:   Online training videos have been set up within the Indigent Defense Timesheet Menu explaining each step of the process. We recommend that you view these videos before you submit your timesheets. If you need additional training please contact the Supreme Court Finance Office at (401) 275-6529 or via email at indigentdefenseinfo@courts.ri.gov to schedule a training session.


Question: Will I need to purchase new software for this program?

Answer:   No. This service is available to anyone who has access to the Internet and will not require any new software.


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