Indigent Defense

Indigent Defense court-appointed attorneys represent public clients when defendants’ cases cannot be handled by either the Humboldt County Public Defender or Conflict Counsel, primarily due to conflicts of interest. If you are interested in serving as a court-appointed criminal defense attorney in the Humboldt County Superior Court, you must read the terms of the rate schedule and submit your application to the Humboldt County Administrative Office (CAO). If your application is approved you will be required to submit quarterly to the CAO confirmation that you are qualified to serve as a Class 1-4 attorney in the Humboldt County Court-Appointed Attorney Program (HCAAP).

Once attorneys are approved through the application process then their names are added to a panel, which lists the attorneys available for assignment, by class. Courts will then assign attorneys who are on the panel.

Attorney Classes

Criminal cases eligible for HCAAP are categorized into four classes. See the details below to learn more about the types of cases each class of attorney will defend, as well as the attorney qualifications for those classes.

Class 1

Cases where a defendant is charged with certain felonies listed in Penal Code 667.5(C)(1),(2),(7),(16), which include murder, mayhem, felonies with a death or life sentence, and continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Class 2

All felonies as defined in 667.5 not listed in class one; AND all other felonies carrying a maximum exposure of 10 years or more; OR a combination of felonies, and or combination of felonies and special allegations carrying a maximum exposure of ten years or more.

Class 3

All felonies not described by Classes One and Two and any misdemeanor that requires registration as a sex offender.

Class 4

The rate schedule also includes billing guidelines, allowable and non-billable expenses, and it imposes pretrial caps for certain cases. This is meant to ensure that services are provided professionally and efficiently. It should also help the county to control some of its costs in these matters. There are no caps for felonies or murder charges.