Indigent defense pay cuts rile lawyers


    GRAHAM, NC (AP) — More than a dozen defense attorneys have resigned from Alamance County’s court-appointed counsel list after the state said it could no longer pay $75 per hour for defense of poor clients.

    The Times-News of Burlington reports only a handful of defense attorneys now remain on the county’s list of lawyers willing to take misdemeanor and felony cases for clients too poor to pay for lawyers.

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    State Indigent Defense Services Director Thomas Maher says a decision was made to cut the $75-per-hour fee because the office faces a $12 million budget shortfall.

    The attorneys say they cannot afford to work for less.

    A new payment amount for indigent counsel had not been determined Wednesday.

    Judges have the option of directly ordering attorneys to take cases if no court-appointed attorney is available.

    Information from: Times-News,

    (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)