Pulaski Superior Court Judge Crystal Brucker Kocher is asking the county for another $40,000 for pauper counsel costs. She told the county council last week that the $20,000 budgeted for this year and an additional appropriation of $40,000 have already been used up.
“We’re only into June, and we have completely exhausted it,” she said. “There’s no way for us to get around that. We have to appoint people. And I will tell you that we have 19 jury trials scheduled from the time I return from maternity leave on July 10 until the end of December, and those attorneys will be getting paid $90 an hour. If we look at a contract public defender, we won’t be paying those hourly rates.”
She suggested that council members think about letting her to switch to an all-contract-public defender system, as they begin working on next year’s budget. Meanwhile, the county council agreed to advertise her request for another $40,000 additional appropriation, for consideration next month.