Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 10. Disability of Judge or Attorney for Commonwealth; Court- Appointed Counsel; Interpreters; Transcripts
10/27/2021

Chapter 10. Disability of Judge or Attorney for Commonwealth; Court- Appointed Counsel; Interpreters; Transcripts.

Article 1. Disability of Judge.

§ 19.2-153. When judge cannot sit on trial; how another judge procured to try the case.

When the judge of a circuit court in which a prosecution is pending is connected with the accused or party injured, or is so situated in respect to the case as in his opinion to render it improper that he should preside at the trial, or if he has rejected a plea bargain agreement submitted by both parties and the parties do not agree that he may hear the case, he shall enter the fact of record and the clerk of the court shall at once certify this fact to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and thereupon another judge shall be appointed, in the manner prescribed by § 17.1-105, to preside at the trial.

Code 1950, § 19.1-7; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1984, c. 585; 1985, c. 253.

§ 19.2-154. Death or disability of judge during trial; how another judge procured to continue with trial.

If by reason of death, sickness or other disability the judge who presided at a criminal jury trial is unable to proceed with and finish the trial, another judge of that court or a judge designated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or by a justice designated by him for that purpose, may proceed with and finish the trial or, in his discretion, may grant and preside at a new trial. If by reason of such disability, the judge who presided at any trial is unable to perform the duties to be performed by the court after a finding of guilty by the jury or the court, another judge of that court, or a judge designated as provided in the preceding sentence, may perform those duties or, in his discretion, may grant and preside at a new trial. Before proceeding with the trial or performing such duties, such judge shall certify that he has familiarized himself with the record of the trial.

1975, c. 495.

Article 2. Disability of Attorney for Commonwealth.

§ 19.2-155. Disqualification or temporary disability of attorney for Commonwealth; appointment of substitute; powers, duties and compensation of such appointee.

If the attorney for the Commonwealth of any county or city is connected by blood or marriage with the accused, or is so situated with respect to such accused as to render it improper, in his opinion, concurred in by the judge, for him to act, or if such attorney for the Commonwealth of any county or city is unable to act, or to attend to his official duties as attorney for the Commonwealth, due to sickness, disability or other reason of a temporary nature, then upon notification by such attorney for the Commonwealth, or upon the certificate of his attending physician, or the clerk of the court, which fact shall be entered of record, the judge of the circuit court shall appoint from another jurisdiction an attorney for the Commonwealth or an assistant attorney for the Commonwealth, with the consent of such attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant, who is not authorized by law to engage in private practice for such case or cases, term or terms of court, or period or periods of time, as may be necessary or desirable, and the same to be forthwith entered of record. However, if the circuit court determines that the appointment of such attorney for the Commonwealth or such assistant attorney for the Commonwealth is not appropriate or that such an attorney or assistant is unavailable, or for other good cause, then the circuit court may appoint an attorney-at-law who shall be compensated pursuant to § 19.2-332. Such appointee shall act in place of, and otherwise perform the duties and exercise the powers of, such disqualified or disabled attorney for the Commonwealth, in regard to such case or cases, for the term or terms of the court, or the period or periods of time, for which the appointment and designation is made, or until the disqualified or disabled attorney for the Commonwealth shall again be able to attend to his duties as such. Nothing herein shall prevent a court from appointing as a special assistant attorney for the Commonwealth, without additional compensation, an attorney employed by a state agency when such appointment is requested by the attorney for the Commonwealth and the court determines such appointment will aid in the prosecution of a particular case or cases.

An attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth who is required by law to devote full time to his duties as such shall not receive additional compensation for services rendered on appointment pursuant to this section. However, such attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant may receive reimbursement for actual expenses incurred, as approved by the Compensation Board to be paid by the Compensation Board, provided such expenses are not otherwise reimbursed by the county or city which he is elected or appointed to serve or by the Compensation Board.

Code 1950, §§ 19.1-9, 19.1-10; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1983, c. 362; 1985, c. 321; 1996, c. 968.

§ 19.2-156. Prolonged absence of attorney for Commonwealth.

If it shall be necessary for the attorney for the Commonwealth of any county or city to absent himself for a prolonged period of time from the performance of the duties of his office, then, upon notification by such attorney for the Commonwealth, or by the court on its own motion, and the facts being entered of record, the judge of the circuit court shall appoint an attorney-at-law as acting attorney for the Commonwealth to serve for such length of time as may be necessary. Such acting attorney for the Commonwealth shall act in place of and otherwise perform the duties and exercise the powers of such regular attorney for the Commonwealth, and while so acting shall receive the salary and allowance for expenses fixed by the State Compensation Board for such regular attorney for the Commonwealth, who during such length of time shall not receive any such salary or allowance.

Code 1950, § 19.1-11; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

Article 3. Appointment of Attorney for Accused.

§ 19.2-157. Duty of court when accused appears without counsel.

Except as may otherwise be provided in §§ 16.1-266 through 16.1-268, whenever a person charged with a criminal offense the penalty for which may be confinement in the state correctional facility or jail, including charges for revocation of suspension of imposition or execution of sentence or probation, appears before any court without being represented by counsel, the court shall inform him of his right to counsel. The accused shall be allowed a reasonable opportunity to employ counsel or, if appropriate, the statement of indigence provided for in § 19.2-159 may be executed.

Code 1950, §§ 19.1-241.1, 19.1-241.7; 1964, c. 657; 1966, c. 460; 1973, c. 316; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 362; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 344, 345.

§ 19.2-158. When person not free on bail shall be informed of right to counsel and amount of bail.

Every person charged with an offense described in § 19.2-157, who is not free on bail or otherwise, shall be brought before the judge of a court not of record, unless the circuit court issues process commanding the presence of the person, in which case the person shall be brought before the circuit court, on the first day on which such court sits after the person is charged, at which time the judge shall inform the accused of the amount of his bail and his right to counsel. If the court not of record sits on a day prior to the scheduled sitting of the court which issued process, the person shall be brought before the court not of record. The court shall also hear and consider motions by the person or Commonwealth relating to bail or conditions of release pursuant to Article 1 (§ 19.2-119 et seq.) of Chapter 9 of this title. Absent good cause shown, a hearing on bail or conditions of release shall be held as soon as practicable but in no event later than three calendar days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, following the making of such motion.

No hearing on the charges against the accused shall be had until the foregoing conditions have been complied with, and the accused shall be allowed a reasonable opportunity to employ counsel of his own choice, or, if appropriate, the statement of indigence provided for in § 19.2-159 may be executed.

Code 1950, §§ 19.1-241.2, 19.1-241.8; 1964, c. 657; 1966, c. 460; 1973, c. 316; 1975, c. 495; 1998, c. 773; 1999, cc. 829, 846; 2014, c. 515.

§ 19.2-159. Determination of indigency; guidelines; statement of indigence; appointment of counsel.

A. If the accused shall claim that he is indigent, and the charge against him is a criminal offense that may be punishable by confinement in the state correctional facility or jail, subject to the provisions of § 19.2-160, the court shall determine from oral examination of the accused or other competent evidence whether or not the accused is indigent within the contemplation of law pursuant to the guidelines set forth in this section.

B. In making its finding, the court shall determine whether or not the accused is a current recipient of a state or federally funded public assistance program for the indigent. If the accused is a current recipient of such a program and does not waive his right to counsel or retain counsel on his own behalf, he shall be presumed eligible for the appointment of counsel. This presumption shall be rebuttable where the court finds that a more thorough examination of the financial resources of the defendant is necessary. If the accused shall claim to be indigent and is not presumptively eligible under the provisions of this section, then a thorough examination of the financial resources of the accused shall be made with consideration given to the following:

1. The net income of the accused, which shall include his total salary and wages minus deductions required by law. The court also shall take into account income and amenities from other sources including but not limited to social security funds, union funds, veteran's benefits, other regular support from an absent family member, public or private employee pensions, dividends, interests, rents, estates, trusts, or gifts.

2. All assets of the accused which are convertible into cash within a reasonable period of time without causing substantial hardship or jeopardizing the ability of the accused to maintain home and employment. Assets shall include all cash on hand as well as in checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and tax refunds. All personal property owned by the accused which is readily convertible into cash shall be considered, except property exempt from attachment. Any real estate owned by the accused shall be considered in terms of the amounts which could be raised by a loan on the property. For purposes of eligibility determination, the income, assets, and expenses of the spouse, if any, who is a member of the accused's household, shall be considered, unless the spouse was the victim of the offense or offenses allegedly committed by the accused.

3. Any exceptional expenses of the accused and his family which would, in all probability, prohibit him from being able to secure private counsel. Such items shall include but not be limited to costs for medical care, family support obligations, and child care payments.

The available funds of the accused shall be calculated as the sum of his total income and assets less the exceptional expenses as provided in the first paragraph of this subdivision 3. If the accused does not waive his right to counsel or retain counsel on his own behalf, counsel shall be appointed for the accused if his available funds are equal to or below 125 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines prescribed for the size of the household of the accused by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The Supreme Court of Virginia shall be responsible for distributing to all courts the annual updates of the federal poverty income guidelines made by the Department.

If the available funds of the accused exceed 125 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines and the accused fails to employ counsel and does not waive his right to counsel, the court may, in exceptional circumstances, and where the ends of justice so require, appoint an attorney to represent the accused. However, in making such appointments, the court shall state in writing its reasons for so doing. The written statement by the court shall be included in the permanent record of the case.

C. If the court determines that the accused is indigent as contemplated by law pursuant to the guidelines set forth in this section, the court shall provide the accused with a statement which shall contain the following:

"I have been advised this ______ day of ______, 20__, by the (name of court) court of my right to representation by counsel in the trial of the charge pending against me; I certify that I am without means to employ counsel and I hereby request the court to appoint counsel for me."

__________________ (signature of accused)

The court shall also require the accused to complete a written financial statement to support the claim of indigency and to permit the court to determine whether or not the accused is indigent within the contemplation of law. The accused shall execute the said statements under oath, and the said court shall appoint competent counsel to represent the accused in the proceeding against him, including an appeal, if any, until relieved or replaced by other counsel.

The executed statements by the accused and the order of appointment of counsel shall be filed with and become a part of the record of such proceeding.

All other instances in which the appointment of counsel is required for an indigent shall be made in accordance with the guidelines prescribed in this section.

D. Except in jurisdictions having a public defender, or unless (i) the public defender is unable to represent the defendant by reason of conflict of interest or (ii) the court finds that appointment of other counsel is necessary to attain the ends of justice, counsel appointed by the court for representation of the accused shall be selected by a fair system of rotation among members of the bar practicing before the court whose names are on the list maintained by the Indigent Defense Commission pursuant to § 19.2-163.01. If no attorney who is on the list maintained by the Indigent Defense Commission is reasonably available, the court may appoint as counsel an attorney not on the list who has otherwise demonstrated to the court's satisfaction an appropriate level of training and experience. The court shall provide notice to the Commission of the appointment of the attorney.

Code 1950, § 19.1-241.3; 1964, c. 657; 1966, c. 460; 1975, c. 495; 1976, c. 553; 1978, c. 720; 1984, c. 709; 2004, cc. 884, 921; 2006, cc. 680, 708; 2008, cc. 122, 154; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 344, 345.

§ 19.2-159.1. Interrogation by court; filing; change in circumstances; investigation by attorney for Commonwealth.

A. The court shall thoroughly interrogate any person making the statement of indigency required in § 19.2-159 and shall further advise such person of the penalty which might result from false swearing, as provided in § 19.2-161.

B. The statement and oath of the defendant shall be filed with the papers in the case, and shall follow and be in effect at all stages of the proceedings against him without further oath. In the event the defendant undergoes a change of circumstances so that he is no longer indigent, the defendant shall thereupon obtain private counsel and shall forthwith advise the court of the change of circumstances. The court shall grant reasonable continuance to allow counsel to be obtained and to prepare for trial. When private counsel has been retained, appointed counsel shall forthwith be relieved of further responsibility and compensated for his services, pro rata, pursuant to § 19.2-163.

C. Upon the request of the court, it shall be the duty of the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which such statement and oath was made to make an investigation as to the indigency of the defendant, or of any other person making such statement. The attorney for the Commonwealth is authorized to delegate the responsibility for such investigation to any subordinate in his office, or to any agency, state or local, which possesses the facilities to quickly make such investigation. Such investigation shall be reduced to writing and forwarded to the court in which the statement and oath was made within fourteen days after such request by the court is made. Such report shall be placed with the papers in the case.

Code 1950, § 19.1-241.3:1; 1975, c. 580; 1977, c. 6; 1981, c. 289; 1984, c. 709.

§ 19.2-160. Appointment of counsel or waiver of right.

If the charge against the accused is a crime the penalty for which may be incarceration, and the accused is not represented by counsel, the court shall ascertain by oral examination of the accused whether or not the accused desires to waive his right to counsel.

In the event the accused desires to waive his right to counsel, and the court ascertains that such waiver is voluntary and intelligently made, then the court shall provide the accused with a statement to be executed by the accused to document his waiver. The statement shall be in a form designed and provided by the Supreme Court. Any executed statement herein provided for shall be filed with and become a part of the record of such proceeding.

In the absence of a waiver of counsel by the accused, and if he shall claim that he is indigent, the court shall proceed in the same manner as is provided in § 19.2-159.

Should the defendant refuse or otherwise fail to sign either of the statements described in this section and § 19.2-159, the court shall note such refusal on the record. Such refusal shall be deemed to be a waiver of the right to counsel, and the court, after so advising the accused and offering him the opportunity to rescind his refusal shall, if such refusal is not rescinded and the accused's signature given, proceed to hear and decide the case. However, if, prior to the commencement of the trial, the court states in writing, either upon the request of the attorney for the Commonwealth or, in the absence of the attorney for the Commonwealth, upon the court's own motion, that a sentence of incarceration will not be imposed if the defendant is convicted, the court may try the case without appointing counsel, and in such event no sentence of incarceration shall be imposed.

Code 1950, § 19.1-241.9; 1973, c. 316; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 365; 1979, c. 468; 1983, c. 97; 1989, c. 385.

§ 19.2-161. Penalty for false swearing with regard to statement of indigence.

Any person charged with a felony who shall falsely swear or who shall execute the statement provided for in § 19.2-159 knowing such statement to be false, shall be guilty of perjury, punishable as a Class 5 felony.

Any person charged with a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail who shall falsely swear or who shall execute the statement provided for in § 19.2-159 knowing such statement to be false shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, §§ 19.1-241.6, 19.1-241.12; 1964, c. 657; 1973, c. 316; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-162. Continuances to be granted if necessary.

Courts before which criminal proceedings are pending shall afford such continuances and take such other action as is necessary to comply with the provisions of this chapter.

Code 1950, §§ 19.1-241.4, 19.1-241.10; 1964, c. 657; 1973, c. 316; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-163. Compensation of court-appointed counsel.

Upon submission to the court, for which appointed representation is provided, of a detailed accounting of the time expended for that representation, made within 30 days of the completion of all proceedings in that court, counsel appointed to represent an indigent accused in a criminal case shall be compensated for his services on an hourly basis at a rate set by the Supreme Court of Virginia in a total amount not to exceed the amounts specified in the following schedule:

1. In a district court, a sum not to exceed $120, provided that, notwithstanding the foregoing limitation, the court in its discretion, and subject to guidelines issued by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, may waive the limitation of fees up to (i) an additional $120 when the effort expended, the time reasonably necessary for the particular representation, the novelty and difficulty of the issues, or other circumstances warrant such a waiver; or (ii) an amount up to $650 to defend, in the case of a juvenile, an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult that may be punishable by confinement in the state correctional facility for a period of more than 20 years, or a charge of violation of probation for such offense, when the effort expended, the time reasonably necessary for the particular representation, the novelty and difficulty of the issues, or other circumstances warrant such a waiver; or (iii) such other amount as may be provided by law. Such amount shall be allowed in any case wherein counsel conducts the defense of a single charge against the indigent through to its conclusion or a charge of violation of probation at any hearing conducted under § 19.2-306; thereafter, compensation for additional charges against the same accused also conducted by the same counsel shall be allowed on the basis of additional time expended as to such additional charges;

2. In a circuit court (i) to defend a Class 1 felony charge, an amount deemed reasonable by the court; (ii) to defend a felony charge that may be punishable by confinement in the state correctional facility for a period of more than 20 years, or a charge of violation of probation for such offense, a sum not to exceed $1,235, provided that, notwithstanding the foregoing limitation, the court in its discretion, and subject to guidelines issued by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, may waive the limitation of fees up to an additional $850 when the effort expended, the time reasonably necessary for the particular representation, the novelty and difficulty of the issues, or other circumstances warrant such a waiver; (iii) to defend any other felony charge, or a charge of violation of probation for such offense, a sum not to exceed $445, provided that, notwithstanding the foregoing limitation, the court in its discretion, and subject to guidelines issued by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, may waive the limitation of fees up to an additional $155 when the effort expended, the time reasonably necessary for the particular representation, the novelty and difficulty of the issues, or other circumstances warrant such a waiver; and (iv) in the circuit court only, to defend any misdemeanor charge punishable by confinement in jail or a charge of violation of probation for such offense, a sum not to exceed $158. In the event any case is required to be retried due to a mistrial for any cause or reversed on appeal, the court may allow an additional fee for each case in an amount not to exceed the amounts allowable in the initial trial. In the event counsel is appointed to defend an indigent charged with a felony that is punishable as a Class 1 felony, such counsel shall continue to receive compensation as provided in this paragraph for defending such a felony, regardless of whether the charge is reduced or amended to a lesser felony, prior to final disposition of the case. In the event counsel is appointed to defend an indigent charged with any other felony, such counsel shall receive compensation as provided in this paragraph for defending such a felony, regardless of whether the charge is reduced or amended to a misdemeanor or lesser felony prior to final disposition of the case in either the district court or circuit court.

Counsel appointed to represent an indigent accused in a criminal case, who are not public defenders, may request an additional waiver exceeding the amounts provided for in this section. The request for any additional amount shall be submitted to the presiding judge, in writing, with a detailed accounting of the time spent and the justification for the additional amount. The presiding judge shall determine, subject to guidelines issued by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, whether the request for an additional amount is justified in whole or in part, by considering the effort expended and the time reasonably necessary for the particular representation, and, if so, shall forward the request as approved to the chief judge of the circuit court or district court for approval.

If at any time the funds appropriated to pay for waivers under this section become insufficient, the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia shall so certify to the courts and no further waivers shall be approved.

The circuit or district court shall direct the payment of such reasonable expenses incurred by such court-appointed counsel as it deems appropriate under the circumstances of the case. Counsel appointed by the court to represent an indigent charged with repeated violations of the same section of the Code of Virginia, with each of such violations arising out of the same incident, occurrence, or transaction, shall be compensated in an amount not to exceed the fee prescribed for the defense of a single charge, if such offenses are tried as part of the same judicial proceeding. The trial judge shall consider any guidelines established by the Supreme Court but shall have the sole discretion to fix the amount of compensation to be paid counsel appointed by the court to defend a felony charge that is punishable as a Class 1 felony.

The circuit or district court shall direct that the foregoing payments shall be paid out by the Commonwealth, if the defendant is charged with a violation of a statute, or by the county, city or town, if the defendant is charged with a violation of a county, city or town ordinance, to the attorney so appointed to defend such person as compensation for such defense.

Counsel representing a defendant charged with a Class 1 felony may submit to the court, on a monthly basis, a statement of all costs incurred and fees charged by him in the case during that month. Whenever the total charges as are deemed reasonable by the court for which payment has not previously been made or requested exceed $1,000, the court may direct that payment be made as otherwise provided in this section.

When such directive is entered upon the order book of the court, the Commonwealth, county, city or town, as the case may be, shall provide for the payment out of its treasury of the sum of money so specified. If the defendant is convicted, the amount allowed by the court to the attorney appointed to defend him shall be taxed against the defendant as a part of the costs of prosecution and, if collected, the same shall be paid to the Commonwealth, or the county, city or town, as the case may be. In the event that counsel for the defendant requests a waiver of the limitations on compensation, the court shall assess against the defendant an amount equal to the pre-waiver compensation limit specified in this section for each charge for which the defendant was convicted. An abstract of such costs shall be docketed in the judgment docket and execution lien book maintained by such court.

Any statement submitted by an attorney for payments due him for indigent representation or for representation of a child pursuant to § 16.1-266 shall, after the submission of the statement, be forwarded forthwith by the clerk to the Commonwealth, county, city or town, as the case may be, responsible for payment.

For the purposes of this section, the defense of a case may be considered conducted through to its conclusion and an appointed counsel entitled to compensation for his services in the event an indigent accused fails to appear in court subject to a capias for his arrest or a show cause summons for his failure to appear and remains a fugitive from justice for one year following the issuance of the capias or the summons to show cause, and appointed counsel has appeared at a hearing on behalf of the accused.

Effective July 1, 2007, the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia shall track and report the number and category of offenses charged involving adult and juvenile offenders in cases in which court-appointed counsel is assigned. The Executive Secretary shall also track and report the amounts paid by waiver above the initial cap to court-appointed counsel. The Executive Secretary shall provide these reports to the Governor, members of the House Committee on Appropriations, and members of the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations on a quarterly basis.

Code 1950, §§ 14.1-184, 14.1-184.1, 19.1-241.5, 19.1-241.11; 1964, cc. 386, 651, 657; 1968, c. 481; 1973, c. 316; 1975, c. 495; 1976, c. 553; 1980, c. 626; 1981, cc. 472, 486; 1985, c. 525; 1986, c. 425; 1987, c. 638; 1988, cc. 465, 472; 1989, c. 565; 1994, c. 451; 1995, cc. 571, 713; 1997, c. 492; 1998, cc. 440, 451; 2000, cc. 436, 448; 2001, c. 509; 2006, c. 332; 2007, cc. 938, 946; 2008, c. 760; 2009, c. 284; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 344, 345.

Article 3.1. Indigent Defense.

§ 19.2-163.01. Virginia Indigent Defense Commission established; powers and duties.

A. The Virginia Indigent Defense Commission (hereinafter Indigent Defense Commission or Commission) is established. The Commission shall be supervisory and shall have sole responsibility for the powers, duties, operations, and responsibilities set forth in this section.

The Commission shall have the following powers and duties:

1. To publicize and enforce the qualification standards for attorneys seeking eligibility to serve as court-appointed counsel for indigent defendants pursuant to § 19.2-159.

2. To develop initial training courses for attorneys who wish to begin serving as court-appointed counsel, and to review and certify legal education courses that satisfy the continuing requirements for attorneys to maintain their eligibility for receiving court appointments.

3. To maintain a list of attorneys admitted to practice law in Virginia who are qualified to serve as court-appointed counsel for indigent defendants based upon the official standards and to disseminate the list by July 1 of each year and updates throughout the year to the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court for distribution to the courts. In establishing and updating the list, the Commission shall consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to, the attorney's background, experience, and training and the Commission's assessment of whether the attorney is competent to provide quality legal representation.

4. To establish official standards of practice for court-appointed counsel and public defenders to follow in representing their clients, and guidelines for the removal of an attorney from the official list of those qualified to receive court appointments and to notify the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of any attorney whose name has been removed from the list.

5. To develop initial training courses for public defenders and to review and certify legal education courses that satisfy the continuing requirements for public defenders to maintain their eligibility.

6. To periodically review and report to the Virginia State Crime Commission, the House Committee for Courts of Justice, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations on the caseload handled by each public defender office.

7. To maintain all public defender offices established by the General Assembly.

8. To hire and employ and, at its pleasure, remove an executive director, counsel, and such other persons as it deems necessary, and to authorize the executive director to appoint, after prior notice to the Commission, a deputy director, and for each of the above offices a public defender who shall devote his full time to his duties and not engage in the private practice of law.

9. To authorize the public defender to employ such assistants as authorized by the Commission.

10. To authorize the public defender to employ such staff, including secretarial and investigative personnel, as may be necessary to carry out the duties imposed upon the public defender office.

11. To authorize the executive director of the Commission, in consultation with the public defender to secure such office space as needed, to purchase or rent office equipment, to purchase supplies and to incur such expenses as are necessary to carry out the duties imposed upon him.

12. To approve requests for appropriations and receive and expend moneys appropriated by the General Assembly of Virginia, to receive other moneys as they become available to it and expend the same in order to carry out the duties imposed upon it.

13. To require and ensure that each public defender office collects and maintains caseload data and fields in a case management database on an annual basis.

14. To report annually on or before October 1 to the Virginia State Crime Commission, the House Committee for Courts of Justice, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations on the state of indigent criminal defense in the Commonwealth, including Virginia's ranking amongst the 50 states in terms of pay allowed for court-appointed counsel appointed pursuant to § 19.2-159 or subdivision C 2 of § 16.1-266.

B. The Commission shall adopt rules and procedures for the conduct of its business. The Commission may delegate to the executive director or, in the absence of the executive director, the deputy executive director, such powers and duties conferred upon the Commission as it deems appropriate, including powers and duties involving the exercise of discretion. The Commission shall ensure that the executive director complies with all Commission and statutory directives. Such rules and procedures may include the establishment of committees and the delegation of authority to the committees. The Commission shall review and confirm by a vote of the Commission its rules and procedures and any delegation of authority to the executive director at least every three years.

C. The executive director shall, with the approval of the Commission, fix the compensation of each public defender and all other personnel in each public defender office. The executive director shall also exercise and perform such other powers and duties as may be lawfully delegated to him and such powers and duties as may be conferred or imposed upon him by law.

2004, cc. 884, 921; 2005, c. 230; 2006, cc. 429, 501; 2007, c. 371; 2008, cc. 536, 815; 2010, c. 314; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 344, 345.

§ 19.2-163.01:1. Supplementing compensation of public defender.

A. The governing body of any county or city may supplement the compensation of the public defender or any of his deputies or employees above the compensation fixed by the executive director, in such amounts as it may deem expedient. Such additional compensation shall be wholly payable from the funds of any such county or city.

B. Due to the privileged and protected nature of the attorney-client relationship and the statutory scope of representation provided in §§ 19.2-157 and 19.2-163.3, no county or city providing a supplement to compensation under this section shall place any condition or requirement upon the receipt of such funds.

C. Funds provided by any county or city under this section shall be paid directly to the employees with notice to the Indigent Defense Commission of any amount so provided.

2008, cc. 536, 815; 2010, c. 314.

§ 19.2-163.02. Membership of Indigent Defense Commission; expenses.

The Virginia Indigent Defense Commission shall consist of 14 members as follows: the Chairman of the House Committee for Courts of Justice or his designee and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary or his designee who shall be members of the Courts of Justice committees; the chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission or his designee; the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court or his designee; two attorneys officially designated by the Virginia State Bar; two persons appointed by the Governor; three persons appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates; and three persons appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules. At least one of the appointments made by the Governor, one of the appointments made by the Speaker, and one of the appointments made by the Senate Committee on Rules, shall be an attorney in private practice with a demonstrated interest in indigent defense issues. Persons who are appointed by virtue of their office shall hold terms coincident with their terms of office. If the chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission is (i) the chairman of the House Committee for Courts of Justice, then the vice-chairman of the Committee shall serve in the position designated for the Committee chairman or (ii) the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, then the Senate Committee on Rules, upon the recommendation of the chairman of the Committee, shall appoint a member of the Committee to serve in the position designated for the Committee chairman. All other members shall be appointed for terms of three years and may be reappointed.

The Commission shall elect a chairman and a vice-chairman from among its membership annually. The chairman or his designee shall preside at all regular and called meetings of the Commission and shall have no additional duties or authority unless set by statute or by resolution of the Commission and annually confirmed by the Commission. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. The Commission shall meet at least four times each year. The meetings of the Commission shall be held at the call of the chairman or whenever three of the members so request.

Members shall be paid reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. Legislative members shall receive compensation as provided in § 30-19.12 and nonlegislative citizen members shall receive compensation for their services as provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825.

2004, cc. 884, 921; 2005, cc. 176, 758; 2006, cc. 429, 501; 2008, c. 115.

§ 19.2-163.03. Qualifications for court-appointed counsel.

A. Initial qualification requirements. An attorney seeking to represent an indigent accused in a criminal case, in addition to being a member in good standing of the Virginia State Bar, shall meet the specific criteria required for each type or level of case. The following criteria shall be met for qualification and subsequent court appointment:

1. Misdemeanor case. To initially qualify to serve as counsel appointed pursuant to § 19.2-159 for an indigent defendant charged with a misdemeanor, the attorney shall:

a. If an active member of the Virginia State Bar for less than one year, have completed eight hours of MCLE-approved continuing legal education developed by the Indigent Defense Commission, two of which shall cover the representation of individuals with behavioral or mental health issues and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities as defined in § 37.2-100;

b. If an active member of the Virginia State Bar for one year or more, either complete the eight hours of approved continuing legal education developed by the Commission, two of which shall cover the representation of individuals with behavioral or mental health disorders and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities as defined in § 37.2-100, or certify to the Commission that he has represented, in a district court within the past year, four or more defendants charged with misdemeanors; or

c. Be qualified pursuant to this section to serve as counsel for an indigent defendant charged with a felony.

2. Felony case.

a. To initially qualify to serve as counsel appointed pursuant to § 19.2-159 for an indigent defendant charged with a felony, the attorney shall (i) have completed the eight hours of MCLE-approved continuing legal education developed by the Commission, two of which shall cover the representation of individuals with behavioral or mental health disorders and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities as defined in § 37.2-100, and (ii) certify that he has participated as either lead counsel or co-counsel in four felony cases from their beginning through to their final resolution, including appeals, if any.

b. If the attorney has been an active member of the Virginia State Bar for more than one year and certifies that he has participated, within the past year, as lead counsel in four felony cases through to their final resolution, including appeals, if any, the requirement to complete eight hours of continuing legal education and the requirement to participate as co-counsel shall be waived.

c. If the attorney has been an active member of the Virginia State Bar for more than one year and certifies that he has participated, within the past five years, as lead counsel in five felony cases through to their final resolution, including appeals, if any, the requirement to participate as either lead counsel or co-counsel in four felony cases within the past year shall be waived.

3. Juvenile and domestic relations case.

a. To initially qualify to serve as appointed counsel in a juvenile and domestic relations district court pursuant to subdivision C 2 of § 16.1-266, the attorney shall (i) have completed the eight hours of MCLE-approved continuing legal education developed by the Commission, two of which shall cover the representation of individuals with behavioral or mental health disorders and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities as defined in § 37.2-100, (ii) have completed four additional hours of MCLE-approved continuing legal education on representing juveniles developed by the Commission, and (iii) certify that he has participated as either lead counsel or co-counsel in four cases involving juveniles in a juvenile and domestic relations district court.

b. If the attorney has been an active member of the Virginia State Bar for more than one year and certifies that he has, within the past year, been lead counsel in four cases involving juveniles in juvenile and domestic relations district court, the requirement to complete the 12 hours of continuing legal education shall be waived.

c. If the attorney has been an active member of the Virginia State Bar for more than one year and certifies that he has participated, within the past five years in five cases involving juveniles in a juvenile and domestic relations district court, the requirement to participate as either lead counsel or co-counsel in four juvenile cases shall be waived.

B. Requalification requirements. After initially qualifying as provided in subsection A, an attorney shall maintain his eligibility for certification biennially by notifying the Commission of completion of at least eight hours of Commission and MCLE-approved continuing legal education, two of which shall cover the representation of individuals with behavioral or mental health disorders and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities as defined in § 37.2-100. The Commission shall provide information on continuing legal education programs that have been approved.

In addition, to maintain eligibility to accept court appointments under subdivision C 2 of § 16.1-266, an attorney shall complete biennially thereafter four additional hours of MCLE-approved continuing legal education on representing juveniles, certified by the Commission.

C. Waiver and exceptions. The Commission or the court before which a matter is pending, may, in its discretion, waive the requirements set out in this section for individuals who otherwise demonstrate their level of training and experience. A waiver of such requirements pursuant to this subsection shall not form the basis for a claim of error at trial, on appeal, or in any habeas corpus proceeding.

2004, cc. 884, 921; 2006, c. 708; 2007, c. 571; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 523, 540.

§ 19.2-163.04. Public defender offices.

Public defender offices are established in:

a. The City of Virginia Beach;

b. The City of Petersburg;

c. The Cities of Buena Vista, Lexington, Staunton, and Waynesboro and the Counties of Augusta and Rockbridge;

d. The City of Roanoke;

e. The City of Portsmouth;

f. The City of Richmond;

g. The Counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren, and the City of Winchester;

h. The City and County of Fairfax;

i. The City of Alexandria;

j. The City of Radford and the Counties of Bland, Pulaski, and Wythe;

k. The Counties of Fauquier, Loudoun, and Rappahannock;

l. The City of Suffolk;

m. The City of Franklin and the Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton;

n. The County of Bedford;

o. The City of Danville;

p. The Counties of Halifax, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg;

q. The City of Fredericksburg and the Counties of King George, Stafford, and Spotsylvania;

r. The City of Lynchburg;

s. The City of Martinsville and the Counties of Henry and Patrick;

t. The City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle;

u. The City of Norfolk;

v. The County of Arlington and the City of Falls Church;

w. The City of Newport News;

x. The City of Chesapeake;

y. The City of Hampton;

z. The Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park and the County of Prince William; and

aa. The County of Chesterfield.

2004, cc. 884, 921; 2004, Sp. Sess. I, c. 4, cl. 2; 2005, c. 951; 2006, Sp. Sess. I, c. 2; 2016, cc. 164, 312; 2020, cc. 348, 376; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 341.

Article 4. Public Defenders.

§ 19.2-163.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, cc. 884 and 921.

§ 19.2-163.3. Duties of public defenders.

Public defenders shall carry out the following duties in accordance with the guidance, policies, and authorizations of the Indigent Defense Commission:

(a) To assist the executive director of the Commission in securing office space, to employ a staff, to fix salaries and to do such other things necessary to carry out the duties imposed upon them with the approval of the Commission.

(b) To represent or supervise assistants in representing within their respective jurisdictions as set out in § 19.2-163.04 indigent persons charged with a crime or offense when such persons are entitled to be represented by law by court-appointed counsel in a court of record or a court not of record.

(c) To represent or supervise assistants in representing indigent persons who are entitled to be represented by court-appointed counsel in an appeal of their conviction to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of Virginia.

(d) To submit such reports as required by the Commission.

Code 1950, § 19.1-32.4; 1972, c. 800; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 698; 1979, c. 194; 1990, c. 734; 1992, c. 80; 2007, c. 680.

§ 19.2-163.4. Inapplicability of §§ 17.1-606 and 19.2-163 where public defender offices established; exception.

In counties and cities in which public defender offices are established pursuant to § 19.2-163.04, defense services for indigents charged with jailable offenses shall be provided by the public defenders unless (i) the public defender is unable to represent the defendant or petitioner by reason of conflict of interest or (ii) the court finds that appointment of other counsel is necessary to attain the ends of justice. Except for the provisions of § 19.2-163 relating to reasonable expenses, §§ 17.1-606 and 19.2-163 shall not apply when defense services are provided by the public defenders.

Code 1950, § 19.1-32.5; 1972, c. 800; 1975, cc. 476, 495; 1992, c. 80; 1994, c. 415.

§ 19.2-163.4:1. Repayment of representation costs by convicted persons.

In any case in which an attorney from a public defender office represents an indigent person charged with an offense and such person is convicted, the sum that would have been allowed a court-appointed attorney as compensation and as reasonable expenses shall be taxed against the person defended as a part of the costs of the prosecution, and, if collected, shall be paid to the Commonwealth or, if payment was made to the Commonwealth by a locality for defense of a local ordinance violation, to the appropriate county, city or town. An abstract of such costs shall be docketed in the judgment lien docket and execution book of the court.

2004, cc. 884, 921; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 344, 345.

§ 19.2-163.5. Legal services to public defenders and/or assistant public defenders.

At the request of a public defender, the Attorney General shall provide legal services to such attorney, his assistants, or members of his staff in any proceeding brought against him, his assistants, or staff for money damages, when the cause of action allegedly arises out of the duties of his office.

Any costs chargeable against the defendant or defendants in any such case shall be paid by the Commonwealth from the appropriation for the payment of criminal charges.

1978, c. 698.

§ 19.2-163.6. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, c. 884 and 921.

Article 4.1. Counsel in Capital Cases.

§ 19.2-163.7. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 344 and 345, cl. 2, effective July 1, 2021.

Article 5. Interpreters.

§ 19.2-164. Interpreters for non-English-speaking persons (Supreme Court Rule 2:507 derived in part from this section).

In any criminal case in which a non-English-speaking person is the accused, an interpreter for the non-English-speaking person shall be appointed. In any criminal case in which a non-English-speaking person is a victim or witness, an interpreter shall be appointed by the judge of the court in which the case is to be heard unless the court finds that the person does not require the services of a court-appointed interpreter. An English-speaking person fluent in the language of the country of the accused, a victim or a witness shall be appointed by the judge of the court in which the case is to be heard, unless such person obtains an interpreter of his own choosing who is approved by the court as being competent. The compensation of an interpreter appointed by the court pursuant to this section shall be fixed by the court in accordance with guidelines set by the Judicial Council of Virginia and shall be paid from the general fund of the state treasury as part of the expense of trial. Such fee shall not be assessed as part of the costs unless (i) an interpreter has been appointed for the defendant, (ii) the defendant fails to appear, (iii) the interpreter appears in the case and no other case on that date, and (iv) the defendant is convicted of a failure to appear on that date the interpreter appeared in the case, then the court, in its discretion, may assess as costs the fee paid to the interpreter. Whenever a person communicates through an interpreter to any person under such circumstances that the communication would be privileged, and such person could not be compelled to testify as to the communications, this privilege shall also apply to the interpreter. The provisions of this section shall apply in both circuit courts and district courts.

Code 1950, § 19.1-246.1; 1966, c. 240; 1974, c. 110; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 601; 1982, c. 444; 1985, c. 396; 1995, c. 546; 1996, c. 402; 2003, c. 1011; 2007, c. 383.

§ 19.2-164.1. Interpreters for the deaf (Supreme Court Rule 2:507 derived in part from this section).

In any criminal case in which a deaf person is the accused, an interpreter for the deaf person shall be appointed. In any criminal case in which a deaf person is the victim or a witness, an interpreter for the deaf person shall be appointed by the court in which the case is to be heard unless the court finds that the deaf person does not require the services of a court-appointed interpreter and the deaf person waives his rights. Such interpreter shall be procured by the judge of the court in which the case is to be heard through the Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.

The compensation of an interpreter appointed by the court pursuant to this section shall be fixed by the court and paid from the general fund of the state treasury as part of the expense of trial. Such fee shall not be assessed as part of the costs.

Any person entitled to the services of an interpreter under this section may waive these services for all or a portion of the proceedings. Such a waiver shall be made by the person upon the record after an opportunity to consult with legal counsel. A judicial officer, utilizing an interpreter obtained in accordance with this section, shall explain to the deaf person the nature and effect of any waiver. Any waiver shall be approved in writing by the deaf person's legal counsel. If the person does not have legal counsel, approval shall be made in writing by a judicial officer. A person who waives his right to an interpreter may provide his own interpreter at his own expense without regard to whether the interpreter is qualified under this section.

The provisions of this section shall apply in both circuit courts and district courts.

Whenever a person communicates through an interpreter to any person under such circumstances that the communication would be privileged, and such person could not be compelled to testify as to the communications, this privilege shall also apply to the interpreter.

In any judicial proceeding, the judge on his own motion or on the motion of a party to the proceeding may order all of the testimony of a deaf person and the interpretation thereof to be visually electronically recorded for use in verification of the official transcript of the proceedings.

1982, c. 444; 1985, c. 396; 1995, c. 546; 1996, c. 402.

Article 6. Recording Evidence and Incidents of Trial.

§ 19.2-165. (Effective until January 1, 2022) Recording evidence and incidents of trial in felony cases; cost of recording; cost of transcripts; certified transcript deemed prima facie correct; request for copy of transcript.

In all felony cases, the court or judge trying the case shall by order entered of record provide for the recording verbatim of the evidence and incidents of trial either by a court reporter or by mechanical or electronic devices approved by the court. The expense of reporting or recording the trial of criminal cases shall be paid by the Commonwealth out of the appropriation for criminal charges, upon approval of the trial judge. However, if the defendant is convicted, the Commonwealth shall be entitled to receive the amount allocated to the court reporter fund under the fixed felony fee. Localities that maintain mechanical or electronic devices for this purpose shall be entitled to retain their reasonable expenses attributable to the cost of operating and maintaining such equipment. The clerk shall receive the evidence at the time of admission of such evidence by the court and shall maintain control over such evidence until the time such evidence is transferred on appeal, or destroyed or returned in accordance with law.

In all felony cases where it appears to the court from the affidavit of the defendant and other evidence that the defendant intends to seek an appeal and is financially unable to pay such costs or to bear the expense of a copy of the transcript of the evidence for an appeal, the trial court shall, upon the motion of counsel for the defendant, order the evidence transcribed for such appeal and all costs therefor paid by the Commonwealth out of the appropriation for criminal charges. If the conviction is not reversed, all costs paid by the Commonwealth, under the provisions hereof, shall be assessed against the defendant.

The reporter or other individual designated to report and record the trial shall file the original shorthand notes or other original records with the clerk of the circuit court who shall preserve them in the public records of the court for not less than five years if an appeal was taken and a transcript was prepared, or ten years if no appeal was taken. The transcript in any case certified by the reporter or other individual designated to report and record the trial shall be deemed prima facie a correct statement of the evidence and incidents of trial.

Upon the request of any counsel of record, or of any party not represented by counsel, and upon payment of the reasonable cost thereof, the court reporter covering any proceeding shall provide the requesting party with a copy of the transcript of such proceeding or any requested portion thereof.

The court shall not direct the court reporter to cease recording any portion of the proceeding without the consent of all parties or of their counsel of record.

The administration of this section shall be under the direction of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Code 1950, § 17-30.1; 1952, c. 642; 1956, c. 699; 1962, c. 419; 1964, c. 533; 1968, c. 358; 1975, cc. 495, 640; 1983, c. 505; 1984, c. 752; 1994, c. 497; 1999, c. 9; 2014, c. 291.

§ 19.2-165. (Effective January 1, 2022) Recording evidence and incidents of trial in felony cases; cost of recording; cost of transcripts; certified transcript deemed prima facie correct; request for copy of transcript.

In all criminal cases in a court of record, the court or judge trying the case shall by order entered of record provide for the recording verbatim of the evidence and incidents of trial either by a court reporter or by mechanical or electronic devices approved by the court. The expense of reporting or recording the trial of criminal cases shall be paid by the Commonwealth out of the appropriation for criminal charges, upon approval of the trial judge. However, if the defendant is convicted, the Commonwealth shall be entitled to receive the amount allocated to the court reporter fund under the fixed felony fee. Localities that maintain mechanical or electronic devices for this purpose shall be entitled to retain their reasonable expenses attributable to the cost of operating and maintaining such equipment. The clerk shall receive the evidence at the time of admission of such evidence by the court and shall maintain control over such evidence until the time such evidence is transferred on appeal, or destroyed or returned in accordance with law.

The costs for the preparation of the transcript of the evidence for an appeal shall be paid by the Commonwealth out of the appropriation for criminal charges.

The reporter or other individual designated to report and record the trial shall file the original shorthand notes or other original records with the clerk of the circuit court who shall preserve them in the public records of the court for not less than five years if an appeal was taken and a transcript was prepared, or ten years if no appeal was taken. The transcript in any case certified by the reporter or other individual designated to report and record the trial shall be deemed prima facie a correct statement of the evidence and incidents of trial.

Upon the request of any counsel of record, or of any party not represented by counsel, and upon payment of the reasonable cost thereof, the court reporter covering any proceeding shall provide the requesting party with a copy of the transcript of such proceeding or any requested portion thereof.

The court shall not direct the court reporter to cease recording any portion of the proceeding without the consent of all parties or of their counsel of record.

The administration of this section shall be under the direction of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Code 1950, § 17-30.1; 1952, c. 642; 1956, c. 699; 1962, c. 419; 1964, c. 533; 1968, c. 358; 1975, cc. 495, 640; 1983, c. 505; 1984, c. 752; 1994, c. 497; 1999, c. 9; 2014, c. 291; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 489.

§ 19.2-165.1. Payment of medical fees in certain criminal cases; reimbursement.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, all medical fees expended in the gathering of evidence for all criminal cases where medical evidence is necessary to establish a crime has occurred and for cases involving abuse of children under the age of 18 shall be paid by the Commonwealth out of the appropriation for criminal charges, provided that any medical evaluation, examination, or service rendered be performed by a physician or facility specifically designated by the attorney for the Commonwealth in the city or county having jurisdiction of such case for such a purpose. If no such physician or facility is reasonably available in such city or county, then the attorney for the Commonwealth may designate a physician or facility located outside and adjacent to such city or county.

Where there has been no prior designation of such a physician or facility, such medical fees shall be paid out of the appropriation for criminal charges upon authorization by the attorney for the Commonwealth of the city or county having jurisdiction over the case. Such authorization may be granted prior to or within 48 hours after the medical evaluation, examination, or service rendered.

B. All medical fees expended in the gathering of evidence through physical evidence recovery kit examinations conducted on victims complaining of sexual assault under Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2 shall be paid by the Commonwealth pursuant to subsection F of § 19.2-368.11:1. Victims complaining of sexual assault shall not be required to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law-enforcement authorities in order to be provided with such forensic medical exams.

C. Upon conviction of the defendant in any case requiring the payment of medical fees authorized by this section, the court shall order that the defendant reimburse the Commonwealth for payment of such fees.

1976, c. 292; 1982, c. 507; 1987, c. 330; 1997, c. 322; 1999, c. 853; 2000, c. 292; 2003, cc. 28, 772; 2008, cc. 203, 251.

§ 19.2-166. Court reporters.

Each judge of a court of record having jurisdiction over criminal proceedings shall be authorized, in all felony cases and habeas corpus proceedings to appoint a court reporter to report proceedings or to operate mechanical or electrical devices for recording proceedings, to transcribe the report or record of such proceedings, to perform any stenographic work related to such report, record or transcript including work pertinent to the court's findings of fact and conclusions of law pertinent thereto. Such reporter shall be paid by the Commonwealth on a per diem or work basis as appropriate out of the appropriation for criminal charges.

Code 1950, § 17-30.1:1; 1968, c. 486; 1975, c. 495; 2003, c. 140.