[HISTORY: Adopted by the Merchantville Borough Council 12-8-1997. (This ordinance superseded former Ch. 60A, Public Defender Services, adopted 4-11-1994.) Amendments noted where applicable.]
In order to obtain the services of the Municipal Public Defender or a court-approved counsel, an application must be filed with the Municipal Court on a form provided by the borough. The application form shall be consistent with the requirements of N.J.S.A. 2A:158A-1 et seq.
The Municipal Court Judge shall make the decision as to which defendants are indigent after reviewing the defendant's application. This determination shall be based upon whether the applicant fits within the definition of "indigent defendant" found within N.J.S.A. 2A:158A-2.
The Municipal Court Administrator shall assess a nonwaiveable application fee of $200.00 upon each person from whom an application for services under this chapter is made. This fee shall be chargeable regardless of whether the applicant is found to require the services of the Municipal Public Defender or court-approved counsel. The Municipal Court Judge may waive any application fee, in whole or in part, only if the Court determines, in its discretion, upon a clear and convincing showing by the applicant that the application fee represents an unreasonable burden upon the applicant.
The defendant's inability to pay the application fee shall in no way affect or reduce the rendering of services under this chapter. In the case of a defendant who is unable or unwilling to pay the application fee, the fee shall become a lien and the borough may collect the fee consistent with N.J.S.A. 40:6A-1 and N.J.S.A. 2A:158A-19.
In all cases where it appears that the defendant has, or reasonably expects to have, means to meet some part, though not all, of the cost of the services rendered to him, he shall be required to reimburse the borough, either by single payment or in installments, in such amounts as the applicant can reasonably be expected to pay over a time period not to exceed four months. No default or failure in the making of such payment shall affect or reduce the rendering of services under this chapter.
All moneys collected for the use of this application fee shall be used exclusively to meet the costs incurred in providing the services of the Municipal Public Defender or court-approved counsel, including, when required, expert and lay investigation and testimony.