Would You Like Increased Appointed Counsel Pay in Your County?
Increased rates and caps for appointed counsel could be a reality in your county. The funds are available from the state, and there is a process for each county to increase rates. The OACDL Appointed Counsel Pay Committee has the resources for you to follow the process and seek increased pay. All you have to do is ask for the resources and champion the cause in your county.
The Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 166 (H.B. 166), which appropriated an additional $59 million toward indigent defense for 2020 and an additional $95 million for 2021. This unprecedented increase in funding will enable the Ohio Public Defender (OPD) to reimburse Ohio counties for approximately seventy percent (70%) of the cost of indigent defense for 2020, with the potential of ninety percent (90%) reimbursement from OPD for 2021.
There is a wide variation in pay among the counties. Each county controls decisions regarding its indigent defense system, including the rates and caps for attorneys appointed to represent indigent clients. According to Ohio Revised Code section 120.33(A)(3), the County Commissioners have the duty to create an hourly rate and pay cap for appointed counsel. That statute requires the Commissioners to seek input from the local bar association. Through your local bar association, you can propose increased pay for indigent defense.
If you decide to champion this cause in your county, the OACDL will provide you with resources to present a proposal to your county commissioners. In addition, the OPD is willing to assist with your efforts, including meeting with the county commissioners. The resources available from the OACDL include:
- A model letter from your bar association to the county commissioners
- The OSBA’s resolution to support increased reimbursement rates for appointed counsel
- The OACDL’s resolution to support increased reimbursement rates for appointed counsel
- The OPD’s letter to the County Commissioners Association of Ohio
- The OACDL’s letter to the County Commissioners Association of Ohio
- The OPD’s memo regarding the indigent defense budget
- The OPD list of county pay rates and caps
- The OPD master maximum fee schedule
- The OPD standards and guidelines for appointed counsel reimbursement
- Relevant sections of the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code
The funds are available for counties to increase appointed counsel pay rates and caps. Now it’s up to you and your local bar association to persuade the county commissioners to approve an increase in indigent defense spending.
If you would like to champion this cause in your county and would like the resources from the OACDL, please contact Blaise Katter (email@example.com) or Meredith O’Brien (firstname.lastname@example.org).