SD19 - An Examination of the Current System of Compensating Court Appointed Counsel and Alternative Methods of Providing Adequate Representation at a Reasonable Cost

Executive Summary:
Adequate provision of indigent defense services funding has been a perennial issue for the legislative and judicial branches for many years. No fewer than ten studies have been undertaken since 1980 to examine both the costs involved and concerns about the quality of representation provided. Most recently, Senate Joint Resolution No. 186 was adopted by the 1994 General Assembly. The resolution, a copy of which is included in the appendix, requested that the Committee on District Courts (CDC) study court-appointed counsel fees in the juvenile and domestic relations district courts and, in particular, to examine the problems inherent in the current system of compensating court-appointed counsel for children, and alternative methods of providing adequate representation at a reasonable cost. In the spring of 1994, the Committee expanded the scope of the study to examine the fees paid to court-appointed counsel in all cases. This report is in response to the General Assembly's request.