Fee Claim Process

How to Submit a Claim

Court appointed attorneys must submit written claims to the state public defender for review, approval and payment. These claims must include the following:

- - A completed Indigent Defense Fee Claim Form. Adult cases are submitted on the Indigent Defense Adult Fee Claim Form; Appellate cases are submitted on the Indigent Defense Appellate Fee Claim Form; and Juvenile cases are submitted on the Indigent Defense Juvenile Fee Claim Form. Claims not submitted on the correct form will be returned to the attorney.
- - A copy of the signed order appointing the attorney to the case. The appointment order must either be dated by the judge or have a legible file-stamp. This date is the effective date of your appointment on the case unless the judge specifies a different appointment date on the order. Claims for services rendered prior to the effective date of the appointment are not payable under the attorney's appointment and that portion of the claim will be denied.
- - You must have an appointment order for each case number you list on the claim form.
- - Claims for probation violations, parole violations and contempt actions are considered new cases and the attorney must submit a copy of an appointment order for these claims.
- - A copy of any application and court order authorizing the attorney to exceed fee limitations.
- - A copy of any order that affects the amount to be paid.
- - An itemization detailing all work done on the case for which the attorney seeks compensation. The itemization must specifically state the date the work was performed and list a time for each activity. Time must be listed on the claim form in tenths of an hour. Time listed in hundredths of an hour will be reduced to the nearest tenth of an hour. The itemization must separately designate in-court time, out-of-court time, paralegal time and travel time. The itemization must be in chronological order.
- - A copy of any application and court order authorizing expenses for experts, investigators, translators or depositions.
- - A copy of any receipts for payment of expenses as required or certification that the fees for experts, investigators, translators or depositions will be paid upon receipt.

Payment for services shall be made only after all reporting requirements have been complied with and the claim has been approved by the State Public Defender’s Office.

When Fee Claims May Be Submitted

In general, claims should be submitted at the conclusion of the case. Interim claims may be paid in the following circumstances:

- - Juvenile cases – Initial claims for services in juvenile cases may be submitted after the dispositional hearing, if any. Subsequent claims may be submitted after each juvenile court review hearing held in the case.
- - Appellate cases – If the attorney has an appellate contract with the state public defender, the attorney may submit a claim after filing the attorney’s proof brief and a final claim at the conclusion of the case. Non-contract appellate attorneys may submit a claim at the conclusion of the case.
- - Interim claims in Class A felony cases may be submitted once every three months with the first claim submitted at least 90 days following the effective date of the attorney’s appointment. Other claims filed prior to the conclusion of the case will not be paid except with prior consent of the state public defender.
- - Approval of or payment of any interim claims does not affect the right of the state public defender to review any subsequent claims or the aggregate amount of the claims submitted.
- - If an attorney is changing law firms and the fees are not to be paid to the law firm, both the law firm and attorney must advise the State Public Defender’s Office in writing that the attorney is leaving the firm and what payments up to a specific date should be made to the law firm.

What the State Pays for Out of the Indigent Defense Fund

Paid out of Indigent Defense Fund:

- - GAL for any child in juvenile court
- - Reasonable compensation for an attorney appointed by the court pursuant to Iowa Code sections 814.11 or 815.10 to serve as counsel to any party in the following cases:
a. Felonies;
b. Misdemeanors, if there exists a potential for jail sentence;
c. Juvenile matters, including delinquency petitions, termination of parental rights in which the attorney may represent either the parent or child, child in need of assistance proceedings, guardian ad litem for a child in an adoption under Iowa Code Chapter 232, juvenile commitment, and judicial bypass;
d. Probation and parole revocation cases;
e. Contempt;
f. Petitions for post-conviction relief;
g. Civil Commitment under Chapter 229A;
h. Appeal of any criminal, post-conviction, contempt, commitment under Chapter 229A, or juvenile action in which the indigent person is entitled to legal assistance at public expense.

Not Paid out of Indigent Defense Fund*:

- - Adult mental health cases;
- - Adult Substance Abuse Cases;
- - Challenging Prison Disciplinary Actions;
- - Chapter 17A Proceedings;
- - Forfeiture Proceedings;
- - Deaf Interpreter, appointed by the Court for hearing or trial;
- - Guardian ad litem for a child witness in a district court case;
- - Guardian ad litem for a prisoner;
- - Petitioner in a Civil Domestic Abuse Case;
- - Probate Guardianship and Conservatorship Proceeding;
- - Attorney for a victim; or
- - Attorney fees in a case in which the attorney was not appointed by the court at the public’s expense.

* This list is not to be considered all-inclusive and will be updated as needed.

Attorney Fee Limitations

The fee limitations for combined attorney time and paralegal time are as follows:

Class A Felonies$18,000
Class B Felonies$3,600
Class C Felonies$1,800
Class D Felonies$1,200
Aggravated Misdemeanors$1,200
Serious Misdemeanors$600
Simple Misdemeanors$300
Misdemeanor appeals to district court$300
Contempt/Show Cause Proceedings$300
Proceedings under Iowa Code Chapter 229A$10,000
Probation/Parole Violation$300
Post-conviction relief the greater of $1,000 or ½ of the fee limitation for the conviction from which relief is sought.
CINA and Delinquency (through disposition)$1,200
TPR under Chapter 232 (through disposition)$1,800
TPR under Chapter 600A Indigent Respondent (through disposition)$600
Juvenile review and other post-dispositional hearings$300
Judicial Bypass Hearings$180
Juvenile Commitment$180
Juvenile Petition on Appeal (The court appointed trial attorney does not need to obtain an appointment order to pursue a petition on appeal. The claim, through the filing of a petition on appeal, must be submitted on an indigent defense juvenile fee claim form. If an appellate court orders full briefing, the attorney fee claim for services subsequent to an order requiring full briefing must be submitted on an indigent defense appellate fee claim form and is subject to the rules governing appeals.)$600
Juvenile Petition on Appeal Further Review$300

 

How the Fee Limitations are Established

The fee limitations are applied separately to each case. "Case" means all charges or allegations arising from the same transaction or occurrence or contained in the same trial information or indictment in a criminal proceeding or in the same petition in a civil or juvenile proceeding.

In an adult criminal proceeding, if an attorney is appointed to represent a client charged with four counts of forgery charged in separate trial informations, the fee limitations for each charge would apply separately. If the attorney were appointed to represent a person charged with a drug offense and failure to possess a tax stamp, the fee limitation would be the limitation for the offense with the higher limitation, not the total of the limitations. If there are multiple charges in one case, the fee limitation for the more serious charge is the fee limitation for the case.

An example of application of the fee limitations in a juvenile proceeding would be in the instance when the attorney represents a parent whose four children are the subject of four child in need of assistance petitions. If the court handles all four children at the same time or the incident that gave rise to the child in need of assistance action is essentially the same, the fee limitation for the attorney representing the parent is one fee limitation for all four children, not one fee limitation for each child.

For a child in need of assistance case that becomes a termination of parental rights case, the fee limitations shall apply to each case separately. For example, the attorney could claim up to $1,200 for the child in need of assistance case and up to $1,800 for the termination of parental rights case.

Claims in Excess of Fee Limitations

Claims will not be paid in excess of the fee limitations unless the attorney seeks and obtains authorization from the appointing court to exceed the fee limitations prior to exceeding the fee limitations. See examples of an order authorizing the attorney to exceed fee limitations on the State Public Defender website.

The authorization to exceed fee limitations only applies to work performed after the filing date of the application to exceed fee limitations unless the court enters an order specifically authorizing the late filing of the application and finding that good cause exists for the late filing of the application. "Good cause" is defined in the SPD administratvie rules as "a sound effective and truthful reason. It is something more than an excuse, plea, apology, extenuation, or some justification. Inadvertence or oversight does not constitute good cause." Even if the attorney obtains an order allowing the attorney to exceed guidelines, the State Public Defender still has final authority to review the claim.

Rate of Compensation

The hourly rates that apply to adult and appellate cases to which the attorney was appointed after June 30, 1999, and before July 1, 2006:

Attorney time:
Class A felonies $60/hour
Class B felonies $55/hour
All other cases $50/hour

Paralegal time: $25/hour

The hourly rates shall apply to adult and appellate cases to which the attorney was appointed after June 30, 2006:

Attorney time:
Class A felonies $65/hour
All other criminal cases $60/hour
All other cases $55/hour

Paralegal time: $25/hour

The hourly rates shall apply to adult and appellate cases to which the attorney was appointed after June 30, 2007:

Attorney time:
Class A felonies $70/hour
Class B felonies $65/hour
All other criminal cases $60/hour
All other cases $60/hour

Paralegal time: $25/hour

The hourly rate for juvenile claims with appointment dates prior to July 1, 1999 is $45 for work through the first court hearing after June 30, 1999. Thereafter the rate goes up to $50 per hour. The hourly rate for juvenile court appointments after June 30, 1999 is $50 through the first court hearing after June 30, 2006. Thereafter the rate goes up to $55 per hour. The hourly rate for court appointments after June 30, 2006 and after is $55 per hour through the first court hearing after June 30, 2007. Thereafter the rate goes up to $60 per hour. The hourly rate for court appointments after June 30, 2007 is $60 per hour. If the attorney was appointed prior to July 1, 2007, the lower hourly rate will apply through the first court hearing on or after July 1, 2007 until the attorney submits a fee claim with the State Public Defender. The attorney must file separate claims for services before and after said hearing. If a claim is submitted with two hourly rates on it, the claim will be paid at the lower applicable rate.

Reimbursement for Expenses

For court appointed cases the State Public Defender’s Office will reimburse expenses if they are reasonable, necessary and relate to a case the attorney is appointed to by the court.

Travel Expenses

- - Mileage at $0.35 per mile for travel on or after February 1, 2008. Mileage at $0.30 per mile for travel on or after September 2, 2005. Mileage at $0.24 per mile for travel prior to September 2, 2005. The number of miles driven must be listed in the itemization of services or on the claim form.
- - Other forms of transportation costs incurred by the attorney with prior approval from the State Public Defender.

Photocopy Expenses

- - Reimbursed at $0.10 per page. The number of copies made must be listed in the itemization of services or on the claim form.
- - If your actual cost is in excess of $0.10 per page, you must attach a receipt from an outside vendor for the claimed expenses.

Telephone Expenses

The state will reimburse you for the actual cost of toll and collect phone calls or at $0.10 per minute of the call. If you are claiming the actual cost of calls, you must attach a receipt for the actual cost (a copy of your phone bill indicating calls for which you are seeking reimbursement must be attached to the claim form). Flat fees, estimated costs and correctional facility deposits will not be reimbursed. If you accept collect calls from a correctional facilty or jail you may attach writtten verification from the facility or jail stating the cost of collect calls from that facility or jail.

Postage Expenses

The state will reimburse you for the actual cost of ordinary and necessary postage expenses.

Parking Expenses

The state will reimburse you for the actual cost of parking expenses. A receipt is required to be submitted with the fee claim if the parking expense is in excess of $2.00 per day.

Fax Received

The only appropriate cost for receiving a fax in your office is the cost of copies ($0.10 per page). If you have to pay an outside vendor for receiving a fax, you must provide a receipt showing the actual amount paid. You must list the number of pages you received by fax either in your itemization of services or on the claim form.

Fax Sent

There is no direct cost for sending a fax, unless there is a long-distance charge associated with it. If you have to pay an outside vendor for sending a fax, you must provide a receipt showing the actual amount paid.

Court Authorized Expenses

The State Public Defender will approve payment for the following expenses if the attorney has obtained a court order authorizing the expenses prior to the expense being incurred:

- - Lodging at $50.00 + tax per night. Lodging is deemed a necessary expense if you are required to be away from home overnight for hearings or trial and the attorney is entitled to be paid for travel time for the travel associated with the lodging.
- - Meals will be reimbursed upon submission of actual receipts. The reimbursement is limited to breakfast $5.00 (depart prior to 7 a.m.), lunch $8.00, and dinner $15.00 (return after 6 p.m.). Meals expense is deemed a necessary expense if you are required to be away from home overnight for hearings or trial and the attorney is entitled to be paid for travel time for the travel associated with the meals.
- - The reasonable cost of an evaluation of your client to establish a defense in the case or to determine if your client is competent to stand trial.
- - In an appeal, the State Public Defender will pay the cost of obtaining the transcript of trial records and briefs.
- - The State Public Defender will reimburse the attorney for reasonable payments made by the attorney to investigators for necessary investigations in the interest of justice, depositions, foreign language interpreters, and expert witnesses, if all of the following conditions exist:
1. The attorney obtained court approval to hire a certified shorthand reporter, investigator, foreign language interpreter, evaluator or expert witness prior to incurring any expenses with regard to each.
2. A copy of the application and order granting authority accompanies the claim.
3. The certified shorthand reporter, investigator, foreign language interpreter, evaluator or expert witness does not submit a claim for the same services.
4. The attorney is seeking reimbursement for moneys already expended or certifies that the funds for these services will be paid to the certified shorthand reporter, investigator, foreign language interpreter, evaluator or expert witness.
5. A copy of the court order authorizing the expense and approving the dollar amount is attached to the claim.
6. In claims for services of certified shorthand reporters, investigators, foreign language interpreters, or experts, if the service provider charges a "minimum" amount for services less than a specific time, the attorney determines and certifies that no other services and charges will be made by the provider for any portion of that specific time.
7. In claims for the cost of an evaluation, the attorney will be reimbursed for the reasonable cost of an evaluation of his/her client to establish a defense in the case or to determine if the client is competent to stand trial. In either instance, a copy of the court order authorizing the evaluation for one of these specific purposes and an order approving the amount of the evaluation must accompany the claim form.

Other Expenses

The state may reimburse you for other expenses with prior approval from the State Public Defender’s Office.

Review of Attorney Fee Claims

The State Public Defender may review any claim for payment of indigent defense costs and may take any of the following actions under Iowa Code §13B.4(c):

- - Approve the claim for payment if the charges are reasonable and appropriate;
- - Deny the claim in whole or in part;
- - Request additional information or return the claim to the attorney if the claim is incomplete.
- - If any portion of the claim is excessive or not payable, notify the attorney (Notice of Action Letter sent by Public Defender’s Office) that the claim will be reduced and the balance of the claim approved.

Payment of Claims

- - Claims are reviewed and paid in the order they are received by the public defender’s office.
- - The end of the state’s fiscal year is June 30. Claims submitted for work performed in previous fiscal years must be reviewed by the state appeal board before they can be paid. To have your claim paid without going through the state appeal board, claims with a date of service prior to July 1, must be paid by August 31 of that year. If your claim must be approved by the state appeal board, the processing of payment may be delayed for twelve weeks or longer.

Electronic Funds Transfer

If you would like to have payment of your claim automatically deposited into your bank account please complete the Electronic Funds Transfer Authorization Form and submit to the address listed on the form. Do not send this form to the State Public Defender.

Duplicate payment procedure:

If the attorney determines he/she has been paid twice for the same work, the attorney must send the State Public Defender a check, payable to the “State of Iowa,” along with a letter referencing both claims. A copy of the letter should also be sent to the Clerk of Court so they can correct the costs in the case.

If the Clerk of Court determines that the attorney has been paid twice for the same work, the clerk notifies the State Public Defender’s Office. The State Public Defender’s Office sends a letter to the attorney requesting payment. The attorney sends a check made payable to the “State of Iowa,” along with a letter referencing both claims. A copy of the letter should also be sent to the Clerk of Court so they can correct the costs in the case.

Notice of Action Letter

If your fees or expenses were reduced by the public defender’s office you are notified about the reduction in a “Notice of Action” letter. The Notice of Action letter also provides an explanation as to why and the amount that was reduced on your claim. If the reduction is the result of something that you can correct, you must submit a new claim form for the difference between what you were originally paid and the amount you originally claimed. Attach your notice of action letter to your claim form along with a copy of the itemization you originally submitted, a copy of the order appointing you as attorney, any applications, orders authorizing you to exceed the fee limitations, and any receipts, court orders, written explanations that are justification for resubmitting the claim.

On the claim form be sure to indicate the date of service (box 8 on adult forms and box 9 on juvenile forms) as the date of the Notice of Action letter and in box 22 on adult forms (box 23 on juvenile forms) check the box for “other” and write “Notice of Action” for the description.

Remember the more information you can provide us the better we will be able to evaluate your claim.

Court Review

An attorney whose claim for compensation is denied, reduced or otherwise modified by the State Public Defender, for other than math errors, may seek court review of the action of the State Public Defender.

Motion for Review

If an attorney fee claim is reduced or denied for any reason the attorney may seek review by filing a motion with the court with jurisdiction over the original appointment. The motion must be filed within 20 days of the date of the action (this is typically the date of the notice of action letter) of the State Public Defender. The attorney has the burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount of compensation and expenses are reasonable and necessary to competently represent the client.
- - The filing of a motion will not delay the payment of the amount approved by the state public defender.
- - The attorney seeking review must file the motion for review with the appointing court.
- - The motion must be timely filed.
- - The motion must set forth each and every ground on which the attorney intends to rely in challenging the actions of the State Public Defender.
- - The attorney must attach to the motion a complete copy of the claim to be reviewed along with the notice of action that the attorney seeks to have reviewed.
- - A copy of all documents filed with the court must be provided to the State Public Defender.
- - The State Public Defender does not have to file any response to the motion.

Hearings

- - Notice of hearing on the attorney’s request for review must be provided to the attorney and the State Public Defender at least ten days prior to the date and time set by the reviewing court. Notice to the State Public Defender should be sent to: State Public Defender’s Office, Fourth Floor, Lucas Building, 321 E. 12th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0087.
- - Hearings on an attorney’s motion for review may be conducted telephonically. For this purpose the telephone number to reach the State Public Defender is (515) 242-6158.
- - Issues not raised in the attorney’s motion cannot be considered by the court at the hearing.
- - The court should issue a written ruling on the issues properly presented in the request for review.
- - At hearing, the attorney requesting the review has the burden of showing that the State Public Defender violated a specific administrative rule or statute, otherwise, the action of the State Public Defender must be affirmed.
- - If a ruling is entered allowing additional fees, the attorney must file a new fee claim form including a copy of the court’s ruling. The date of the court’s order is the date of service on the form. In box 22 of the adult and appellate fee claim forms (box 23 of the juvenile fee claim form) check the box for “other” and write in “court order” and the claim number from the contested claim.