DISTRICT COURT CASES
Attorneys who wish to accept misdemeanors and concurrent felonies in the District Court or assignments of Juvenile Delinquency cases must complete a two-step process; after obtaining approval as a state vendor through the CPCS Private Counsel Payment Unit.
(1) apply for and gain admission into a county bar advocate program
(2) complete a required training program.
For further information on becoming a bar advocate, contact the program in counties in which you wish to practice. No attorney may be a member of more than two bar advocate programs. A directory of these programs is included on page 17.
The training requirement is satisfied by attendance at a five-day seminar, Zealous Advocacy in the District Court. The course combines previous training programs covering district court and juvenile delinquency cases. To receive an application please call the CPCS Training Unit at (617) 210-1350 or MCLE at (617) 350-7006. The program is administered through Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). Applications are in the MCLE course catalog (617) 350-7006.
Attorneys who complete the training requirement are certified to represent indigent adults who are charged with misdemeanors and felonies that are within the final jurisdiction of the District Court as set forth in G.L.. c.218, §26. In order to handle probable cause hearings in the District Court or matters (other than arraignment and bail hearing) on Superior Court jurisdiction felonies, attorneys must be certified for Superior Court cases.
Assignment of Cases
District Court cases are assigned through the county bar advocate programs.
Attorneys who accept District Court cases, must represent their clients at all stages of the criminal proceedings in the District Court and District Court Jury of Six Session. In the event of a final conviction in the District Court Jury session, it is the responsibility of the trial attorney to file a Notice of Appeal, a Motion to Withdraw, a Motion to Appoint Substitute Counsel and to notify CPCS of the need for appellate counsel to be assigned.
By accepting District Court case assignments attorneys agree to abide by the CPCS Performance Guidelines Governing Representation of Indigents in Criminal Cases. A copy of the Guidelines is provided at the District Court Bar Advocate Training Program or may be obtained from the CPCS Training Unit and is included in the Manual for Assigned Counsel.