SENATE BILL NO. 52
AN ACT TO AMEND PART VI, TITLE 10 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO FEES AND COSTS; AND PROVIDING FOR THE RECOUPMENT OF DEFENSE COSTS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Part VI, Title 10 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new chapter, designated as Chapter 86, which new Chapter shall read as follows:
"CHAPTER 86. RECOUPMENT OF DEFENSE COSTS
§8601. Recoupment of costs
(a) A court may require a convicted defendant who has utilized court-appointed attorneys or the Public Defender's office to pay the costs of his defense in that court.
(b) Costs shall be limited to expenses specially incurred by the State in defending the convicted person. Such costs shall not include expenses inherent in providing a constitutionally guaranteed jury trial, or expenditures in connection with the maintenance and operation of government agencies if such expenditures must be made by the public irrespective of specific violations of law.
(c) The court shall not require a defendant to pay the costs of his defense unless the defendant is, or will be, able to pay them. In determining the amount and method of payment of such costs, the court shall take account of the financial resources of the defendant and the nature of the burden that payment of costs will impose.
(d) A defendant who has been required to pay the costs of his defense and who is not in contumacious default in the payment thereof may at any time petition the court for remission of the payment of such cost, or of any unpaid portion thereof. If it appears to the satisfaction of the court that payment of the amount due will impose manifest hardship on the defendant or his immediate family, the court may remit all or part of the amount due in costs, or modify the method of payment.
§8602. Conditions of payment
for payment to be made within a specified period of time or in specified installments. If no such permission is granted, the full amount shall be payable forthwith.
(b) When the court determines that a defendant must pay the costs of his defense and the defendant is also placed on probation, or the imposition or execution of a sentence is suspended, the court may make payment of such costs a condition of probation or suspension of sentence.
§8603. Non-payment of defense costs
(a) When a defendant who is required to pay the costs of his defense defaults in the payment thereof or of any installment, the court on motion of the Attorney General or upon its own motion may require the defendant to show cause why his default should not be treated as contempt of court, and may issue a Rule or Order to Show Cause why such default should not be treated as contempt of court, and may take such further actions as the court determines to produce the defendant before the court.
(b) If there has been no former citation for contempt, the term of imprisonment for contempt for the non-payment of defense costs shall be set forth in the commitment Order, and shall not exceed one day for each twenty-five dollars ($25.00) of the full amount. In no event shall imprisonment exceed thirty days if the fine was imposed upon conviction of a violation or misdemeanor. In all other cases, the court may impose a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year. A person committed for non-payment shall be given credit toward payment for each day of imprisonment at the rate specified in the commitment Order.
(c) Upon a second or subsequent citation for contempt and unless the defendant shows that his default was not attributable to an intentional refusal to obey the Order of the court or to a failure on his part to make the payment, the court may find that such default constitutes contempt and may order the defendant committed until the payment, or a specified part thereof, is paid.
(d) If it appears to the satisfaction of the court that the default in the payment of defense costs is not contempt, the court may enter an Order allowing the defendant additional time for payment, reducing the amount thereof or of each installment, or revoking such payment or the unpaid portion thereof in whole or in part.
(e) A default in the payment of defense costs or any installment thereof may be collected by any means authorized by law for the enforcement of a judgment. The levy of execution for the collection of such payment shall not discharge a defendant committed for imprisonment for contempt until the full amount of the fine has actually been collected. The court shall have the power to pursue civil enforcement to obtain the money due on behalf of the State, and to also pursue criminal remedies when civil means are not effective."
Approved July 14, 1977.