Indigent attorney compensation increases in area

By Jennifer Peryam -

LIMA — The fee compensation for area indigent public defenders has increased in several area counties, and the cost for paying jurors also has increased in Putnam County.

Allen County Commissioners approved a resolution on Aug. 1 to increase the indigent defense attorney fees, according to Kasie Paullin, clerk to the Allen County Common Pleas Court. The current cost for those attorneys is $75 an hour for serving in and out of court. Previously, it was $40 for out-of-court and $50 for in-court services. There was a cap placed on the payment based on different levels of felonies.

Indigent defense attorneys are attorneys on the court-appointed attorneys list. Individuals who cannot afford their own attorney are appointed to these attorneys.

The cost for jurors to appear and not serve is $15. Seated jurors receive $30 a day. That has remained unchanged, Paullin said.

Putnam County Commissioners approved on Oct. 31 a resolution that increases the compensation rates for jurors to $15 for half a day and $30 for a full day effective Jan. 1.

Kim Redman, Putnam County clerk of courts, said jurors previously who were called in as a juror and were not seated were paid $6 for half a day and for a full day made $12.

“We did an analysis across the neighboring counties and we realized we needed to increase those fees for jurors,” Redman said. She said there are a lot of jurors who are called in who are not compensated for taking off work to serve on a jury. Redman added that jurors help provide a fair trial.

The board received a request for the increase from Putnam Common Pleas Court Judges Michael Borer and Keith Schierloh for an increase rate to the hourly indigent public defenders of $75 per hour for in court and and out of court services.

Borer, who serves as a Common Pleas Judge for probate juvenile court, said the commissioners previously approved a resolution in 2001 for indigent counsel fees that were were set March 1, 2001, at $50 an hour for out of court work and $60 an hour for in court work.

“The Constitution guarantees every defendant have competent counsel representing them,” Borer said.

Mandy Crowell, Auglaize County Public Defenders office administrator, said indigent public defenders in the county increased to $75 an hour effective from $50 for out of court and $60 for in court. The increase was approved by the Auglaize County Commission in March 2019.

“There is a big bush for indigent defense to get more funding. Our office has three salaried indigent attorneys,” Crowell said.

Jurors in Auglaize County are paid $30 a day for any length of time they serve that has remain unchanged.

Van Wert County Public Defender Commission negotiates annually with the county commissioners to provide public defenders services, according to Scott Gordon, Van Wert Public Defenders president.

Van Wert jurors are paid $15 a day if they show up to court but don’t serve and $30 if they serve.

By Jennifer Peryam

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

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