It cost Nueces County 50 times more on average to pay for court-appointed attorneys in capital murder cases last year than other types of cases.
For the last fiscal year, the county paid about $119,000 to defense attorneys in five capital murder cases. That's an average of about $24,000 a case. Court appointments in other criminal cases cost the county an average of $480 a case that year.
But capital murder cases are rare compared with the thousands of other cases in which indigent defendants require court-appointed lawyers. Lawyers can be appointed in many situations including in criminal cases for adults and juveniles, mental health hearings, Child Protective Services cases, guardian and probate cases and appellate cases.
The sheer volume of those cases is what made up the bulk of the $3.9 million the county spent last year in appointed attorney fees.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Indigent defense costs 50x higher for capital cases in Nueces County
The Corpus Christi Caller Times had an article over the weekend about the high cost of paying for indigent defense in capital murder cases ("Spotlight on Spending: Capital murder cases," July 17). The story opened: