Reimbursement of Court-Appointed Attorney Fees In California

"Proceedings to assess attorney's fees against a criminal defendant involve the taking of property, and therefore require due process of law, including notice and a hearing." (People v. Poindexter (1989) 210 Cal. App. 3d 803, 809 258 Cal. Rptr. 680, citing People v. Amor (1974) 12 Cal. 3d 20, 29-30 114 Cal. Rptr. 765, 523 P.2d 1173.) The due process requirements of section 987.8(f) mandate that prior to the appointment of counsel the defendant receive " 'notice reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances' " to apprise him of the potential of his liability for the costs of legal representation and of the possible effects of an order to pay such costs. (See Amor, supra, at p. 29, quoting Mullane v. Central Hanover Tr. Co. (1950) 339 U.S. 306, 314 70 S. Ct. 652, 657, 94 L. Ed. 865; accord, People v. Phillips (1994) 25 Cal. App. 4th 62, 74 30 Cal. Rptr. 2d 321.) Section 987.8 establishes the statutory procedure for determining a criminal defendant's ability to reimburse the county for the services of court-appointed counsel. Under this section, a court may order a defendant who has the ability to pay to reimburse the county for all or a portion of the costs of his legal representation. Section 987.8(f) provides: "Prior to the furnishing of counsel or legal assistance by the court, the court shall give notice to the defendant that the court may, after a hearing, make a determination of the present ability of the defendant to pay all or a portion of the cost of counsel. The court shall also give notice that, if the court determines that the defendant has the present ability, the court shall order him or her to pay all or a part of the cost. The notice shall inform the defendant that the order shall have the same force and effect as a judgment in a civil action and shall be subject to enforcement against the property of the defendant in the same manner as any other money judgment."