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County Commissioners and Clerks

The relationship between the PDC and Idaho’s counties is a collaborative one. The PDC interacts with the counties in two main ways. First, the PDC has created performance standards for indigent defense providers, so the PDC will monitor the performance of the indigent defense services provided by the county to ensure compliance.  Second, the PDC is charged with distributing indigent defense grants to the counties, so that counties may have increased funding for their indigent defense services. Through these two avenues the PDC and the counties work together to ensure that the defense services provided are constitutionally sound and adequately funded.

This page provides resources for County Commissioners and Clerks to better understand the role of the PDC and how counties can comply with indigent defense standards in order to be eligible to receive indigent defense grants from the state.

The PDC has been given the authority to create Indigent Defense Standards with which the counties must comply. These standards will be created by rule through the negotiated rulemaking process. For more information, navigate to the following pages:

Standards and Guidelines

Negotiated Rulemaking

Proposed and Pending Rules


This document can assist you to understand what standards are currently in effect and require compliance. This document is only a guide. The PDC recommends reviewing all the IDAPA rules in full to ensure compliance.

The PDC does not provide a model contract, however, has created a recommendation for terms to be used in county contracts with defending attorneys: Suggested Model Contract Terms

The PDC had the pleasure of addressing many County Commissioners and Clerks at the IACC Conference on June 11, 2015, introducing these terms to the counties. A copy of the presentation: IAC Summer Meeting PowerPoint


US Department of Justice: Report on Contracting for Indigent Defense Services

NLADA: Guidelines for Negotiating and Awarding Governmental Contracts for Criminal Defense Services


There are three (3) types of Indigent Defense Grants: These grants are funded by the State of Idaho and disbursed through the PDC pursuant to Idaho Code § 19-862(A) and IDAPA 61.01.04.

  • Indigent Defense Grant

Every county that is in compliance with indigent defense standards is eligible for this type of grant. A county's "local share" is used to calculate the maximum amount of funds for which counties are eligible to receive. A county is eligible for $25,000 or 15% of its local share, whichever is greater. “Local Share” is defined by I.C. § 19-851(8): “[f]or any given county fiscal year, a county's local share shall be the median of the annual amount in county funds expended by that county for indigent defense during each of the first three (3) of the preceding five (5) county fiscal years, as certified by the county clerk.” In other words, for a FY2020 grant application, the prior five years are FY2015-2019. So the local share would be the median of the amounts expended in FY2015-2017.

Applications for IDGs are due on May 1st each year. The application will require information showing the county is in compliance with current indigent defense standards. If a county is not in compliance, the application requires a plan showing how the county will come into compliance in the upcoming fiscal year.

• FY2020 Indigent Defense Grant Application - Blank copy. Your Regional Coordinator can provide you with a personalized copy for your county.
FY2020 Indigent Defense Grant, Additional Information Certification - This form is for when a county is supplying additional information after their initial grant application. A county may supply a written addendum with this signed form attached.
• FY2020 Sample Indigent Defense Grant Application - A sample completed Indigent Defense Application.

  • Joint County Incentive Grant

As a part of the Indigent Defense Grants, counties are eligible for an additional $25,000 if they join with another county to open a county-run office. This additional $25,000 is per county, meaning that if two counties join together, they will each receive $25,000, for a total of $50,000 between the two counties. If more than two counties join together, each county will receive $25,000 each.

  • Extraordinary Litigation Fund (ELF) Grants

This fund is to help offset the costs of an unusual case for a county with extraordinary costs that could not have been anticipated or are simply unusual. Information and materials available here. Counties and attorneys are encouraged to reach out to their local Regional Coordinators with any questions regarding the ELF.

County Budgets

When the county budget process begins in April of each year, counties should keep in mind that a county is required to maintain its local share of indigent defense expenditures. See Idaho Code 19-862.


Idaho Code 19-864 requires all defending attorneys to submit an annual report to the board of county commissioners, the corresponding administrative district judge and the PDC. The PDC has developed an Annual Reporting Form for both Institutional Offices and Contract Defending Attorneys. Those forms can be found here: Forms & Reports. The PDC expects to collect annual reporting forms on Nov. 1 2017 as the data will be necessary for the creation of workload standards and other standards.

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