Scioto County Public Defenders want more money.
Attorneys serving as public defenders want to be paid more money. The Ohio State Bar Association recently passed a resolution asking that the minimum fee paid to those who are appointed to serve as counsel to the indigent be raised to $75 per hour.
Local counties pay for attorneys to represent those who can’t afford one and are then partially reimbursed by the State of Ohio. According to Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree they are reimbursed at about a 70% rate. The 70% rate is expected to remain in place throughout 2020 with hopes that it may rise to around 90% over the next few years.
The $75 would apply for both in-court and out-of-court services. Attorneys say the time is right for a raise since the state has allocated an additional $59 million to reimburse counties in 2020 and an additional $95 million in 2021.
According to the Ohio Bar Association, not paying lawyers ‘reasonable rates deters qualified attorneys from being able to take appointed cases, undermining the right to counsel.”
However, at a recent Scioto County Commissioners’ meeting, Commissioners expressed hope that the additional funds would mean that the county would be reimbursed to close to 90% of what they spend on indigent defense.
Scioto County spent close to $47,000 on indigent defense in the month of September of 2019 alone.