Florida Senate - 2011         (PROPOSED COMMITTEE BILL) SPB 7120
       FOR CONSIDERATION By the Committee on Budget
       576-02384B-11                                         20117120__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the state judicial system; creating
    3         the Judicial Caseload Incentive Plan; prescribing the
    4         purpose of the plan; providing for performance goals
    5         for each judicial circuit; authorizing financial
    6         awards to certain judges based on the performance of
    7         the circuit in meeting the goals; amending s. 27.511,
    8         F.S.; authorizing each office of criminal conflict and
    9         civil regional counsel to create a direct-support
   10         organization; prescribing requirements related to the
   11         creation and operation of the direct-support
   12         organization; amending s. 27.5304, F.S.; authorizing
   13         the Office of the State Courts Administrator to pay
   14         private court-appointed counsel if a court orders
   15         payment above specified flat-fee amounts; providing
   16         for a portion of such payments to be paid from funds
   17         appropriated to the office for that purpose; amending
   18         s. 28.37, F.S.; deleting a provision requiring clerks
   19         of court to deposit certain fine revenue into the
   20         Public Records Modernization Trust Fund; amending s.
   21         318.18, F.S.; requiring the clerk of court and the
   22         Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation to
   23         submit reports on local traffic assessments in an
   24         electronic format; providing an effective date.
   26  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   28         Section 1. Judicial Caseload Incentive Plan.—
   29         (1) PURPOSE.—There is created the Judicial Caseload
   30  Incentive Plan, the purpose of which is to resolve civil
   31  disputes in a timely manner and reduce legal costs in the state
   32  courts system by allowing certain judges within each judicial
   33  circuit meeting the established performance goals to earn a
   34  nonrecurring award.
   35         (2)PERFORMANCE GOALS.—The Legislature shall prescribe
   36  annual performance goals in the General Appropriations Act for
   37  specified case types in each judicial circuit. The Office of the
   38  State Courts Administrator shall calculate the performance of a
   39  circuit toward meeting its performance goal using data collected
   40  from the clerks of court. The office shall divide the annual
   41  performance goals into equal quarterly goals.
   42         (3)AWARDS.
   43         (a)Based on data collected from the clerks of court, the
   44  Office of the State Courts Administrator shall collect data to
   45  determine if a circuit meets all of the performance goals for a
   46  quarter. The office:
   47         1. Shall evaluate performance relating to each goal
   48  separately; and
   49         2. May not consider performance data from prior quarters.
   50         (b)1. If the office determines that a circuit meets all of
   51  the performance goals for a quarter, each judge assigned the
   52  types of cases specified in the General Appropriations Act as
   53  part of the Judicial Caseload Incentive Plan shall receive an
   54  award for that quarter equal to $3,000. The office shall prorate
   55  the award of a judge who takes office during the quarter for
   56  which the circuit meets its quarterly goals or transfers into or
   57  out of the relevant divisions handling the types of cases
   58  specified in the Judicial Caseload Incentive Plan.
   59         2. A judge may not receive more than one full award per
   60  quarter.
   61         3. An award under this section is contingent upon the
   62  appropriation of, and shall be paid from, funds in the General
   63  Appropriations Act.
   64         (4)REPORTS.—Within 30 days after the end of each quarter,
   65  the Office of the State Courts Administrator shall report
   66  electronically to the chairs of the appropriations committees of
   67  the Senate and the House of Representatives the progress of each
   68  circuit in meeting performance goals for the quarter and the
   69  number and amount of awards provided.
   70         Section 2. Subsection (10) is added to section 27.511,
   71  Florida Statutes, to read:
   72         27.511 Offices of criminal conflict and civil regional
   73  counsel; legislative intent; qualifications; appointment;
   74  duties.—
   75         (10) Each office of criminal conflict and civil regional
   76  counsel may create a direct-support organization.
   77         (a) The direct-support organization must be registered in
   78  this state as a nonprofit corporation under chapter 617. The
   79  direct-support organization shall be exempt from the filing fees
   80  under s. 617.0122.
   81         (b) The direct-support organization shall be organized and
   82  operated to conduct programs and activities; raise funds;
   83  request and receive grants, gifts, and bequests of moneys;
   84  acquire, receive, hold, invest, and administer, in its own name,
   85  securities, funds, objects of value, or other property, real or
   86  personal; and make expenditures to or for the direct or indirect
   87  benefit of the office of criminal conflict and civil regional
   88  counsel.
   89         (c) The direct-support organization shall operate under a
   90  written contract with the regional counsel. The written contract
   91  must, at a minimum, provide for:
   92         1. Approval of the articles of incorporation and bylaws of
   93  the direct-support organization by the regional counsel.
   94         2. Submission of an annual budget for the approval by the
   95  regional counsel.
   96         3. The reversion without penalty to the office of criminal
   97  conflict and civil regional counsel, or to the state if the
   98  office ceases to exist, of all moneys and property held in trust
   99  by the direct-support organization for the office if the direct
  100  support organization ceases to exist or if the contract is
  101  terminated.
  102         4. The fiscal year of the direct-support organization,
  103  which must begin July 1 of each year and end June 30 of the
  104  following year.
  105         5. The disclosure of material provisions of the contract
  106  and the distinction between the regional counsel and the direct
  107  support organization to donors of gifts, contributions, or
  108  bequests, as well as on all promotional and fundraising
  109  publications.
  110         (d) If the regional counsel determines that the direct
  111  support organization is operating in a manner that is
  112  inconsistent with the goals and purposes of the office of
  113  criminal conflict and civil regional counsel or is not acting in
  114  the best interest of the state, the regional counsel may
  115  terminate the contract, and thereafter the organization may not
  116  use the name of the office.
  117         (e) The regional counsel shall appoint a board of directors
  118  for the direct-support organization. The regional counsel may
  119  designate employees of the office of criminal conflict and civil
  120  regional counsel to serve on the board of directors. Members of
  121  the board shall serve at the pleasure of the regional counsel.
  122         (f) The regional counsel:
  123         1. May authorize the use of facilities and property other
  124  than money which are owned by the office of criminal conflict
  125  and civil regional counsel to be used by the direct-support
  126  organization.
  127         2. May authorize the use of personnel services provided by
  128  employees of the office.
  129         3. May prescribe the conditions by which the direct-support
  130  organization may use property, facilities, or personnel services
  131  of the office.
  132         4. May not authorize the use of property, facilities, or
  133  personnel services of the direct-support organization if the
  134  organization does not provide equal employment opportunities to
  135  all persons, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, or
  136  national origin.
  138  For the purposes of this paragraph, the term “personnel
  139  services” includes full-time personnel and part-time personnel
  140  as well as payroll processing.
  141         (g) Moneys of the direct-support organization may be held
  142  in a depository account in the name of the direct-support
  143  organization which is separate from the accounts of the office,
  144  but which is subject to the provisions of the contract with the
  145  regional counsel.
  146         (h) The direct-support organization shall provide for an
  147  annual financial audit in accordance with s. 215.981.
  148         (i) The direct-support organization may not exercise any
  149  power under s. 617.0302(12) or (16). A state employee may not
  150  receive compensation from the direct-support organization for
  151  service on the board of directors or for services rendered to
  152  the direct-support organization.
  153         Section 3. Subsections (1) and (12) of section 27.5304,
  154  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  155         27.5304 Private court-appointed counsel; compensation.—
  156         (1) Private court-appointed counsel shall be compensated by
  157  the Justice Administrative Commission and the Office of the
  158  State Courts Administrator as provided in this section and the
  159  General Appropriations Act. The flat fees prescribed in this
  160  section are limitations on compensation. The specific flat fee
  161  amounts for compensation shall be established annually in the
  162  General Appropriations Act. The attorney also shall be
  163  reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses in accordance
  164  with s. 29.007. If the attorney is representing a defendant
  165  charged with more than one offense in the same case, the
  166  attorney shall be compensated at the rate provided for the most
  167  serious offense for which he or she represented the defendant.
  168  This section does not allow stacking of the fee limits
  169  established by this section.
  170         (12) The Legislature recognizes that on rare occasions an
  171  attorney may receive a case that requires extraordinary and
  172  unusual effort.
  173         (a) If counsel seeks compensation that exceeds the limits
  174  prescribed under this section and the General Appropriations
  175  Act, he or she must file a motion with the chief judge for an
  176  order approving payment of attorney’s fees in excess of these
  177  limits.
  178         1. Prior to filing the motion, the counsel shall deliver a
  179  copy of the intended billing, together with supporting
  180  affidavits and all other necessary documentation, to the Justice
  181  Administrative Commission.
  182         2. The Office of the State Courts Administrator Justice
  183  Administrative Commission shall review the billings, affidavit,
  184  and documentation for completeness and compliance with
  185  contractual and statutory requirements. If the State Courts
  186  Administrator Justice Administrative Commission objects to any
  187  portion of the proposed billing, the objection and reasons
  188  therefor shall be communicated in writing to the private court
  189  appointed counsel. The counsel may thereafter file his or her
  190  motion, which must specify whether the State Courts
  191  Administrator commission objects to any portion of the billing
  192  or the sufficiency of documentation, and shall attach the
  193  commission’s letter stating its objection.
  194         (b) Following receipt of the motion to exceed the fee
  195  limits, the chief judge or a designee shall hold an evidentiary
  196  hearing.
  197         1. At the hearing, the attorney seeking compensation must
  198  prove by competent and substantial evidence that the case
  199  required extraordinary and unusual efforts. The chief judge or
  200  designee shall consider criteria such as the number of
  201  witnesses, the complexity of the factual and legal issues, and
  202  the length of trial. The fact that a trial was conducted in a
  203  case does not, by itself, constitute competent substantial
  204  evidence of an extraordinary and unusual effort. In a criminal
  205  case, relief under this section may not be granted if the number
  206  of work hours does not exceed 75 or the number of the state’s
  207  witnesses deposed does not exceed 20.
  208         2. The chief judge or designee shall enter a written order
  209  detailing his or her findings and identifying the extraordinary
  210  nature of the time and efforts of the attorney in the case which
  211  warrant exceeding the flat fee established by this section and
  212  the General Appropriations Act.
  213         (c) A copy of the motion and attachments shall be served on
  214  the Justice Administrative Commission at least 5 business days
  215  prior to the date of a hearing. The Justice Administrative
  216  Commission shall have standing to appear before the court,
  217  including at the hearing under paragraph (b), to contest any
  218  motion for an order approving payment of attorney’s fees, costs,
  219  or related expenses and may participate in a hearing on the
  220  motion by use of telephonic or other communication equipment
  221  unless ordered otherwise. The Justice Administrative Commission
  222  may contract with other public or private entities or
  223  individuals to appear before the court for the purpose of
  224  contesting any motion for an order approving payment of
  225  attorney’s fees, costs, or related expenses. The fact that the
  226  Justice Administrative Commission has not objected to any
  227  portion of the billing or to the sufficiency of the
  228  documentation is not binding on the court.
  229         (c)(d) If the chief judge or designee finds that counsel
  230  has proved by competent and substantial evidence that the case
  231  required extraordinary and unusual efforts, the chief judge or
  232  designee shall order the compensation to be paid to the attorney
  233  at a percentage above the flat fee rate, depending on the extent
  234  of the unusual and extraordinary effort required. The percentage
  235  shall be only the rate necessary to ensure that the fees paid
  236  are not confiscatory under common law. The percentage may not
  237  exceed 200 percent of the established flat fee, absent a
  238  specific finding that 200 percent of the flat fee in the case
  239  would be confiscatory. If the chief judge or designee determines
  240  that 200 percent of the flat fee would be confiscatory, he or
  241  she shall order the amount of compensation using an hourly rate
  242  not to exceed $75 per hour for a noncapital case and $100 per
  243  hour for a capital case. However, the compensation calculated by
  244  using the hourly rate shall be only that amount necessary to
  245  ensure that the total fees paid are not confiscatory.
  246         (d)(e) Any order granting relief under this subsection must
  247  be attached to the final request for a payment submitted to the
  248  Office of the State Courts Administrator Justice Administrative
  249  Commission.
  250         (e)(f)The Justice Administrative Commission shall provide
  251  to the Office of the State Courts Administrator data concerning
  252  the number of cases approved for compensation in excess of the
  253  limitation and the amount of these awards by circuit and by
  254  judge. The Office of the State Courts Administrator shall report
  255  the number of cases paid and the amount paid per case by circuit
  256  data quarterly to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of
  257  the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme
  258  Court, and the chief judge of each circuit.
  259         (f) The portion of compensation paid to private court
  260  appointed counsel under this subsection which exceeds the
  261  compensation limits prescribed elsewhere under this section and
  262  the General Appropriations Act shall be paid from funds
  263  appropriated to the Office of the State Courts Administrator for
  264  this purpose.
  265         Section 4. Subsection (2) of section 28.37, Florida
  266  Statutes, is amended to read:
  267         28.37 Fines, fees, service charges, and costs remitted to
  268  the state.—
  269         (2) Except as otherwise provided in ss. 28.241 and 34.041,
  270  all court-related fines, fees, service charges, and costs are
  271  considered state funds and shall be remitted by the clerk to the
  272  Department of Revenue for deposit into the Clerks of the Court
  273  Trust Fund within the Justice Administrative Commission.
  274  However, 10 percent of all court-related fines collected by the
  275  clerk shall be deposited into the clerk’s Public Records
  276  Modernization Trust Fund to be used exclusively for additional
  277  clerk court-related operational needs and program enhancements.
  278         Section 5. Paragraph (b) of subsection (13) of section
  279  318.18, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  280         318.18 Amount of penalties.—The penalties required for a
  281  noncriminal disposition pursuant to s. 318.14 or a criminal
  282  offense listed in s. 318.17 are as follows:
  283         (13)
  284         (b) A county may impose a surcharge under subparagraph
  285  (a)1., subparagraph(a)2., or subparagraph(a)3., but may not
  286  impose more than one surcharge under this subsection. A county
  287  may elect to impose a different authorized surcharge but may not
  288  impose more than one surcharge at a time. The clerk of court
  289  shall report, no later than 30 days after the end of the
  290  quarter, the amount of funds collected under this subsection
  291  during each quarter of the fiscal year. The clerk shall submit
  292  the report, in an electronic a format developed by the Florida
  293  Clerks of Court Operations Corporation Office of State Courts
  294  Administrator, to the chief judge of the circuit and the Florida
  295  Clerks of Court Operations Corporation. The corporation shall
  296  submit the report in an electronic format to, the Governor, the
  297  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  298  Representatives, and the board of county commissioners.
  299         Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.