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Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program

ICDA Members Only Area

Court Appointed Legal Services for Indigent Criminal
Defendants: (213) 896-6437


What is the Indigent Criminal Defense Program?

The Los Angeles County Bar Association began operating the Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program for the Central District of Los Angeles County in January 1986. On August 16, 1994, in accordance with Penal Code Section 987.2(d), the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors approved a county-wide contract expanding ICDA. The Program currently provides private attorneys to represent indigent criminal defendants in the Los Angeles County Superior Courts when the Public Defender (PD) and the Alternative Public Defender (APD) are unavailable or have a conflict.

Membership

Currently about 330 panel lawyers handle all county-wide indigent criminal defense appointments on all misdemeanor, felony, death penalty, and sexually violent predator cases. In the year 2012, ICDA lawyers were appointed on approximately 16,000 cases and staffed all Los Angeles County Superior Courts on a daily basis.

Special Assignments

Over the years ICDA has been called to handle special assignments for the court. For instance, following the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles, 150 panel attorneys provided 700 hours of pro bono arraignment services to help the Court clear 1,200 riot-related cases, ICDA attorneys handled close to 530 arraignments during a one-week span, virtually working around the clock. Similarly, in 2000, during the Democratic National Convention, ICDA attorneys volunteered to staff the arraignment courts to handle demonstration related cases.

The ICDA Program is administered by an administrator and five full-time program assistants and is supervised by a full-time Directing Attorney. The Directing Attorney, in conjunction with an executive committee, handles member qualifications, discipline, financial audits, rules and procedures, new member trainings and CLE seminars.

How can ICDA staff be contacted?

The ICDA Administrative Staff and Directing Attorney are available at the Los Angeles County Bar Association weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The telephone number is (213) 896-6437.

How are cases assigned to ICDA attorneys?

The attorneys who participate In the ICDA Program are assigned cases on a rotational basis, in order to ensure a fair distribution of the cases. Participating attorneys are designated as misdemeanor and felony grades I through V, depending on their qualifications, and are matched with cases similarly graded according to the seriousness of the case and the skills and experience required. Attorneys handle their assigned cases to completion and submit bills for payment to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Certain cases such as Health & Safety 11350 violations, probation violations, bench warrant pick-ups and line-ups, are handled on a non-rotational basis. Attorneys are also scheduled in courts around the county on a daily basis to handle arraignments and conflicts. These "duty day" attorneys are appointed on all misdemeanors, non-rotational felonies, and one felony case in their grade. The other new felony cases are assigned on a rotational basis.

How are ICDA attorneys and cases classified?

Membership in ICDA is open to all lawyers who meet the qualification standards. Attorneys are classified into six grades and are assigned cases in their grade and the next lower grades as well.

  • MISDEMEANORS: All misdemeanors and Traffic Violations.
  • P.C 270 Cases
  • FELONIES
    • GRADE I ;cases have possible sentences of up to four years, and include Vehicle Code and Business & Professional Code felony filings, and low level felony filings such as Penal Code sections 245(a)(1), 459, 496, or Health & Safety (H&S) Code section 11350 and 11351.
    • GRADE II cases have possible sentences of up to ten years, and include violations of Penal Code sections 182 (to commit a Grade I case), 211, 245(a)(2), 451(c), 459(1st degree), H&S Code section 11351.5, 11352, 11353, 11361, 11378.5 and 11379.5.
    • GRADE III cases have possible sentences of up to twenty-four years, and include conspiracy to commit Grade 2 or Grade 3 offenses, charges with multiple counts or sentence enhancements, and Second Strike cases.
    • GRADE IV cases have possible sentences of more than 5 years, and all life cases, and include violations of Penal Code sections 187 (non-capital), 207, 209, 261, 288, or 289, and Third Strike cases. The Court also appoints Grade IV attorneys on more complex fraud crimes involving protracted litigation.
    • GRADE V cases are Penal Code 187 (murder) with special circumstances in which the death penalty is sought. This panel of attorneys is selected by the judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court. These cases are assigned through the Capital Case Panel rotation.

What are the scheduled fees for ICDA attorneys?

Misdemeanors $69/hr
I $75/hr
II $81/hr
III $88/hr
IV $100/hr
Capital murder cases are paid on a flat fee contract.

Billing questions can be answered by PACE Management at 213-974-7541

What impact can the Bench have on ICDA attorneys?

Members of the Bench play an important role in helping ICDA maintain the high standards expected of its attorneys. We rely on the Courts to notify us if an attorney:

  • Refers ICDA cases to non-panel attorneys;
  • Fails to appear for a court appearance, including the initial calendared arraignment date;
  • Accepts a court appointment for a case above the attorney's grade;
  • Engages in conduct which the Court deems inappropriate or is refused appointments by the Court; or
  • Intentionally charges excessive fees to the Court.

Violations of the above-mentioned rules are grounds for suspension and/or termination from the ICDA Program. In addition, an attorney who has been suspended, disbarred, or has resigned from the State Bar of California will automatically be removed from the ICDA program

The Los Angeles County Bar Association, the ICDA Committee and Staff are very proud of ICDA's:

  • Experienced attorneys
  • Quality representation
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Efficiency and expediency in handling short-notice cases and special assignments for the Court
  • Commitment to the Bench and pro bono service
  • Sponsorship of quality hours of continuing legal education
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