Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall came before the Starke County Council last night to request a transfer of funds to help cover the cost of hiring court-appointed attorneys for defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. Because of the increasing number of criminal cases, particularly those dealing with methamphetamine, the costs for appointing these public defenders are becoming staggering. Hall mentioned that the percentage of defendants who cannot afford an attorney and request to have one appointed has also gone up; 75-80% of defendants now need a public defender.
“We have individuals who get court appointed attorneys pay $100 per case into the Clerk’s office, and that money’s been deposited into the Supplemental Public Defender Services Fund. So what we did today is get some of that money transferred that’s been accumulating there and help to offset the costs of all these trials and appeals,” said Hall.
The $100 charged per case is not enough to cover the full cost, but this money has been accumulating and has now been used, with the Council’s approval, to pay some invoices in the amount of $4,230 to pay for the transcripts on the Ernest Wireman trial, the transcripts for the Gerald Broude trial, and the transcripts for the trial of John Brooke.