Scioto County spent $60,153 paying for public defenders for the indigent accused of crimes in November. The good news is that the State reimbursed the County for $51,139 of that money, bringing the reimbursement level up to 85%.
In Ohio, counties must first pay for public defenders and then submit bills to the state. The State then decides which expenses to approve and then reimburses the County. Commissioner Mike Crabtree said, that at one time, the reimbursement level had been as low as 30%.
Commissioner Bryan Davis credited Crabtree for advocating for a higher level of reimbursements for Counties.
Crabtree said that the County has pushed hard over the last few years to see that rate rise. “It’s another way to get money back in the hands of the County. We ask for a lot of things from the Governor and State legislature. We don’t always get them. You have to keep pushing, but we’ve done very well with this. You’re seeing some of the fruits of our labor.”
In the past, the commissioners have criticized local attorneys for failing to submit paperwork in a timely fashion and costing the County reimbursement money.
Crabtree said that Governor Mike DeWine, a former prosecutor, has been a strong supporter of increasing the amount of money reimbursed to counties. The Ohio Bar Association recently passed a resolution calling for counties to raise the minimum amount paid to public defenders to $75 per hour.