Several Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys filed suit on April 10, 2008 in the Eastern District seeking “a fairer compensation system for court-appointed lawyers, and, thus, better representation for indigent defendants,” according to Julie Shaw at the Daily News. The compensation system has not changed since approximately 1993 other than “an increase a few years ago in the homicide preparation fee to $2,000 and in the felony preparation fee to $650.”
The law suit asserts thatthe current rates “sometimes result ‘in actual compensation of only $5 to $10 per hour’…[and as] a result, many experienced criminal-defense lawyers refuse to accept court appointments and are withdrawing from the list or have already withdrawn.”
The suit names the Court of Common Pleas, President Judge C. Darnell Jones II, Judge D. Webster Keogh, administrative judge of the Trial Division, Mayor Nutter, and the city solicitor’s office as defendants.
The complaint asks the court to prohibit all criminal trials involving court-appointed lawyers until a more adequate pay system is put in place.
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