Gosh, my recent post on the indigent defense report card spurred quite a flurry of comments.
Calm down people. Yes, I know the difference between assigned counsel and PD's (see my Slate piece Public Offenders - Why criminals in Massachusetts are getting out of jail free )
And Tom, the figure I got was from a nice reputable newspaper called The Chicago Tribune Feel free to take issue with them but do spare us all any rant that includes the phrase 'liberal media' or 'believe what you read'.
I tend not to like to yammer about assigned counsel rates--most lawyers, after all are making a decent living and doing far better than most people. But that's not the point. The point is that fee caps create terribly perverse financial incentives that in turn cause bad representation. It's hard to go to trial on your own dime. I've done it--in a murder case, and I gotta tell you, I felt like a chump--a righteous one, but a chump. The judge came in and he was getting paid, the prosecutor, he was drawing his salary, the court officers, the clerks and the stenographer were all making money every hour every day. But not me. Having done it, I can tell you it is not reasonable to expect people to work for free. Ask yourself, Tom, in the dark night of your soul, whether you'd change your trial/plea behavior if you weren't getting paid a salary.
And as for all of you wondering where the money comes from...
Here you go: