Rationing Justice


Attorneys who work indigent defense cases are often paid to little to cover their own overhead costs and often lose money in the process, according to a new study by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

“Rationing Justice,” the first report in a three-part study by the NACDL is a 50-state study of hourly rates paid to private indigent defense attorneys.

More than half of all states have maximum compensation fees, according to the study, with no compensation for extra hours worked. In addition, rates have remained unchanged in several states decades.

“States continue to use hourly rates that?have remained stagnant for years. Alaska?has had the same rate since 1986, West Virginia since 1990, South Carolina since?1993 and Vermont since 1994. In Wisconsin, the hourly rate for assigned counsel has only increased by $5 in the last 35 years,” according to the NACDL.

Read the report here.

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