46.1001 Representation of indigent persons.

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(a) The public defender shall represent as counsel, without charge, each indigent person who is under arrest for or charged with committing a felony, misdemeanor, immigration law, or traffic violation; and

(1) the defendant requests it; or

(2) the court, on its own motion or otherwise, so orders and the defendant does not affirmatively reject, of record, the opportunity to be represented by legal counsel in the pro-ceeding.

(b) The public defender shall represent indigent persons charged in any court with crimes which constitute juveniles upon whom a delinquency petition is filed or who are in any way restrained by court order, process, or otherwise; persons held in any institution against their will by process or otherwise for the treatment of any disease or disorder or confined for the protection of the public; and those persons charged with violations of the traffic code; provided

(1) the indigent person, or his parent or legal guardian, in delinquency, requests it; or

(2) the court, on its own motion or otherwise, so orders, the defendant, or his parent or legal guardian.

(c) The determination of indigence shall be made by the High Court.

History: 1962, PL 7-36; 1969, PL 11-54.

Case Notes:

As officers of the court, members of the bar may be appointed, without compensation if necessary, as counsel to insure that indigent criminal defendants receive legal representation. Rev. Const. Am. Samoa Art. I, § 6; A.S.C.A. §§ 46.0502(2), 46.1001. American Samoa Government v. Wilson, 23 A.S.R.2d 159 (1993).

Right to effective assistance of counsel applies in American Samoa. Am. Samoa Rev. Const. Art I, § 6; A.S.C.A. §§ 46.0502, 46.1001. Suisala v. Moaali’itele, 6 A.S.R.2d 15 (1987).

The bifurcated-proceedings statute divides the inquiry into whether the defendant “committed the criminal act charged” and whether he was “insane at the time of the commission of the criminal act.” A.S.C.A. §§ 46.1301-46.1302. American Samoa Gov’t v. Taylor, 19 A.S.R.2d 99 (1991).