Sentence Obligation Resource Program
Sentence obligations can be a significant obstacles for public defense clients. The combination of confusion and procrastination can lead to obligations being missed, resulting in additional court hearings and jail sanctions.
Public defender obligation to individual cases are limited both by contractual provisions and by court practices and end when a case is sentenced. Despite this practice, clients often try to contact public defenders on their underlying cases when they are confused about their sentence obligations.
OPD created the Sentence Obligation Resources Program to better serve both clients and public defenders. The Program serves to provide limited guidance and coordination services to clients regarding their sentence obligations, thereby helping to reduce the occurrence of sentence violations. By doing so, the Program also takes the burden of addressing client questions about sentence obligations away from public defenders.
Here is what public defenders need to know about the program.
Superior Court cases (where there are sentencing obligations other than jail or prison):
Karissa Garza, who is the legal secretary leads up to the Program and will assist your client by helping him/her select the appropriate treatment or class provider to fulfill their sentencing obligation and meet their cost/availability/location needs. Program resource paperwork, including release of information forms, are available at OPD so they can be completed early and more accurately.
- After sentencing, provide your client with an End of Representation Notification form. This will inform the client that you no longer represent them and they shouldn't turn to you for answers to questions.
For the process and explanation of what will happen during and after the sentencing hearing please click here.
District Court cases:
- After sentencing, provide your client with a Getting Started document. This will inform the client that you no longer represent them and they shouldn’t turn to you for answers to questions. This document will also explain that sentence obligations must be coordinated through the District Court Probation Department.
- On District Court cases, OPD will serve as a resource only as a last resort: when clients have problems with sentencing obligations and don’t feel like they can discuss with the Probation Department whether for confidentiality or self-incrimination reasons.
To view the steps of what is needed to be done after the sentencing hearing for both District and Superior court please click here.
A master spreadsheet of treatment and class provider resources (below) is maintained on our website and is intended for your use in working with clients and helping them plan for what treatment and classes they can realistically afford the time and money to attend. If you have further questions about treatment and class resources pre-sentencing, please feel free to contact Karissa and she can help. Phone number is (509) 222-3700.
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