Monday, August 15, 2011

Budget for legal services for indigents... not enough?

The Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services responds to request to slash its budget by saying it wants more money! Its chairman, Ron Schneider, said:
“Our obligation is to provide those people, if they are indigent, with an attorney. That is a constitutional obligation that we have.”
Constitutional obligation? Nice try. The Bill of Rights protects a person's right to counsel; it doesn't obligate taxpayers to fund anything. More important is that an individual gets due process of the law... a fair trial; and that's just not happening, no matter how much money the state pays out to attorneys who provide counsel to indigent defendants.

The story mentions that the process for collecting payment from defendants found at least partially able to afford counsel will be changing next summer. 

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