MonroeCounty.gov; Adam Bello, County Executive

Voucher Regulations

A. TIME RECORDS

1. YOU MUST SUBMIT YOUR CLAIM FOR PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER PROVIDED TO YOU AT THE TIME OF ASSIGNMENT TO THE CASE. NO OTHER VOUCHER WILL BE ACCEPTED. Assigned counsel must submit separate vouchers for each case assignment, not just each client. Thus, counsel must submit a separate voucher for each court in which counsel obtains any type of disposition. For example, if a "package deal" allows a client's plea in County Court to satisfy a City Court charge, the attorney would submit two vouchers. The first would note a plea in County Court and the second would show a dismissal or withdrawal of the charges in City Court.

2. Apportionment of Time - Counsel must apportion time spent representing a defendant on more than one set of charges in various courts among those courts. For instance, the attorney would properly apportion one phone conversation encompassing charges of the same defendant in both City and town court between the cases. Also, counsel must apportion the time spent in court appearances on more than one matter or in representing more than one client among those matters or clients. The total time billed for all cases should equal the clock time actually spent in court on that date for assigned cases (see Matter of Stern, 90 AD2d 338 [1st Dept. 1982]).

3. Billing - Counsel must report billable time in hours and tenths of hours only rounded to the nearest tenth (.2 not .23 or .19). The Conflict Defender will disregard any fractional or hundredth entry.

4. Log Sheets - Case log sheets must be legible and must clearly designate in-court and out of court time with separate totals for each. The Conflict Defender will return illegible vouchers and log sheets for revision and resubmission, thus delaying payment. It is permissible to use your computer generated log sheets if you clearly designate in-court and out of court time. The log sheet should show separate totals for each category and the attorney must transfer the totals to the face sheet of the voucher. If using your log sheets, the attorney should use either the chronological method with a clear distinction between in-court and out of court time or if showing in-court and out of court time in separate groupings, the voucher should first list the in-court time, followed by out of court time.

B. SUBMISSION OF VOUCHERS

1. Conflict Defender. - Assigned counsel should submit vouchers electronically via the Eectronic Voucher Online Program. They should be submited within 20 business days of the end of the case for approval.

  After the elctroninc review of the voucher, the Conflict Defender will send it to the assigning judge for signature. The judge will return the voucher electronically to the Conflict Defender who will process payment through the Monroe County Controller's office.

2. Original Signature - Your original signature must appear on the face sheet of the voucher to receive payment from the Monroe County Controller. The Conflict Defender will return vouchers submitted with photocopied signatures for affixing of an original signature, thus delaying payment.

3. Submission Deadline - Assigned counsel should submit vouchers to the Conflict Defender within twenty business days (FOUR WEEKS) of the completion of a case (Plan, art. X).

4. Case Completion. - For criminal matters, the four week period begins to run from the date of sentencing, or from the date of dismissal (or date of granting of an ACD). The only exception to this is when the judge orders a Bench Warrant. In bench warrant cases, the Assigned Counsel Program deems the completion date to be four to eight weeks from the issuance of the warrant. For Family Court matters, the four week period begins to run from the date of entry of a final order.

5. Monthly Calendar Logs. - According to the terms of the Monroe County Assigned Counsel Plan, the Conflict Defender may require assigned counsel to submit a monthly log of time spent on all assigned cases within ten (10) days of the close of that calendar month (Plan, art X).

6. Partial Payments - Partial payments or interim vouchers are not permissible. Counsel should submit vouchers only at the completion of a matter. The only exception is where extraordinary circumstances are present (i.e., multiple homicides). In such cases, the court must notify the Conflict Defender in writing of circumstances that the attorney believes warrants payment of an interim voucher.

C. DISPOSITION OF CASES

1. Case Disposition - The face sheet of the voucher must be legible and should clearly show the final disposition of the matter. For a criminal conviction, counsel should list the charge with a statement whether the conviction resulted from plea or trial, and if by trial, whether by jury or bench trial (i.e., PG to CPSP5; NG after jury trial; petit larceny after B.T.). For appellate assignments, the disposition should show affirmation, reversal or modification of the judgment. In addition, assigned counsel must complete the three areas on the BACK of the voucher provided for each case. Counsel should check the boxes and fill in the blanks that most accurately reflect the state of facts for that case.

2. WGJ - It is unacceptable to submit a voucher for payment after waiver of a case to the Grand Jury. The disposition on the face sheet of the voucher should not read "Waived to Grand Jury" as this is not a final disposition. Assigned Counsel should follow through with a felony matter until case completion. The only exception is where the court relieves counsel of an assignment. In such cases, the voucher should so state and include the name of the new assigned attorney, if known.

3. BWO - When the judge orders a Bench Warrant, counsel should wait at least four to eight weeks after initially trying to contact the client before submitting a voucher. This should avoid duplication of services should counsel contact the client shortly after issuance of the Bench Warrant.

4. Withdrawal/Reassignment - When you must withdraw from a matter, the voucher should show that the judge relieved you from assignment and should name the new assigned attorney, if known.

D. EXPENSES

1. Travel Time - It is impermissible to bill the County for mileage for travel within Monroe County. It is permissible to bill time spent traveling to and from court as out of court time only. Assigned attorneys must apportion the time actually spent traveling among the various cases handled on that same trip.

2. Parking - The County will not reimburse assigned counsel for parking of vehicles for routine court appearances or jail visits unless extraordinary circumstances are present. In such cases, specify the circumstances and attach a receipt.

3. Photocopies - The Assigned Counsel Program reimburses for photocopies up to a maximum of .15 per page for necessary copies. Counsel must attach a receipt or statement showing the date, number and purpose of the copies. For voluminous copying, a court order for services should accompany any invoice. If you or your firm would normally absorb the costs of routine copying for retained clients, counsel should not bill the County for copies associated with the assigned counsel program.
Note that the American Bar Association Standards for Assigned Counsel Programs provide that routine expenses normally absorbed in the fee charged to a retained client, such as in-house photocopying, is not reimbursable under an assigned counsel plan.

4. Long Distance Phone Calls - If requesting reimbursement for long distance telephone calls, the attorney must attach a copy of the phone bill to the voucher. If the bill refers to multiple matters, the attorney should clearly identify the calls for which counsel seeks reimbursement.

5. Out-of-Pocket Expenses - Receipts must accompany your request for payment of any other out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., Federal Express, certified mail).16. Overhead Expenses - Routine overhead expenses are not reimbursable under the Assigned Counsel Plan. It is not permissible to bill the County for preparation of your voucher as a retained client would not pay you for preparing the bill. The only cost associated with billing that is permissible is the time devoted to preparing the following: court orders for expert services, court orders for 722-d orders, and court orders, court certifications, and attorney affidavits for payment of compensation more than the statutory amount.

E. EXPERT SERVICES

1. Court Order - There is a statutory limit of $1,000 for payments for expert services. For the Conflict Defender to authorize payment, a court order must accompany the voucher of the expert. It is assigned counsel's responsibility to obtain the court order for expert services before hiring the expert (i.e., paralegal, investigators, interpreters). After performance of the expert service, counsel should give the court order to the expert for submission with a Monroe County claim voucher. A court order authorizing payment in the requested amount must accompany any request for payment of more than the $1,000 statutory maximum.

2. Travel Arrangements - The Assigned Counsel Program will authorize payment for travel costs associated with an expert witness only in extraordinary circumstances. Prior court approval must accompany any request by assigned counsel for expert travel. Counsel must contact the Conflict Defender immediately so appropriate travel arrangements can be made through the County's travel agent.

F. VOUCHER FORMS

1. YOU MUST SUBMIT YOUR CLAIM FOR PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER PROVIDED TO YOU AT THE TIME OF ASSIGNMENT TO THE CASE. NO OTHER VOUCHER WILL BE ACCEPTED.

2. For ALL assigned cases, CDO will send counsel a partially completed, pre-printed voucher SPECIFICALLY for the particular assigned case. Much of the pertinent information will already appear on the pre-printed voucher.

3. Assigned counsel must complete the DISPOSITION DATE, FINAL DISPOSITION, DISPOSITION JUDGE and the payment information on the front of the voucher.

4. Assigned counsel must check the applicable boxes in the 3 areas on the back of the pre-printed voucher. Assigned counsel must check the box and fill in the blanks that most accurately describes the situation in the case in each of the 3 areas.

5. CDO will send counsel the pre-printed voucher within 5 days of assignment. If counsel misplaces the pre-printed voucher sent to counsel, contact us and we will send a replacement. If a case is assigned and counsel DOES NOT receive a pre-printed voucher within 5 days, COUNSEL SHOULD CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY.

6. If the court relieves counsel during the assignment, we will send substituted counsel a new pre-printed voucher for that case number within 5 days of notification to CDO of the substitution of counsel. Assigned counsel should submit a claim for whatever work has been done to that point on the ORIGINAL PRE-PRINTED VOUCHER. Assigned counsel should not send the ORIGINAL PRE-PRINTED VOUCHER to substituted counsel with the rest of the file.

7. If counsel submits the pre-printed voucher following the appropriate waiting period after issuance of a bench warrant, CDO will issue a new, pre-printed voucher on execution of the warrant and the completion of the case. Assigned counsel should notify us of the re-opening of a case for any reason and request a new, pre-printed voucher.

8. If a court assigns counsel directly from the bench (as the Bar Sponsored Plan allows in unusual circumstances), counsel should contact CDO immediately. Sometimes when court is busy, the court clerks forget to report the bench assignments to us. Assigned counsel's contact will insure receipt of the proper voucher and speedier payment at the end of the case.

9. Mailing of the voucher to assigned counsel is confirmation of assignment to the case.

10. When submitting a voucher for a case where you prepared motions, memoranda or a brief, YOU MUST SUBMIT A COPY OF THE DOCUMENT with your voucher. Our office will not process vouchers submitted without such a copy until we receive the copy.

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