In a First, U.S. Judiciary Cuts Defense Lawyer Fees Under Sequestration


The federal judiciary is cutting the fees of court appointed defense lawyers, including those representing death penalty defendants, for the first time to deal with the “dire consequences” of required government budget reductions known as sequestration, reports USA Today. The reductions are part of an unprecedented criminal justice cost-cutting effort that will scale back federal probation services at a time when authorities plan to rely more heavily on probation to help reduce the rising federal prison population. Starting next month, attorneys’ fees will drop from $125 per hour to $110 in non-death penalty cases and from $179 per hour to $164 in capital cases. The reductions aim to save $50 million in the next 13 months to avoid further cuts in the full-time federal defender staff. The defender program includes both full-time public defenders, who have been targeted for furloughs and layoffs, and private court-appointed lawyers.

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