indigent defendants

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Despite being too poor to afford attorneys, records from the Alabama Department of Finance show indigent defendants paid nearly $4 million in legal fees in Fiscal Year 2012.

State officials say the figure is only a fraction of what indigent defendants are charged for legal representation. Defendants aren't required to pay until being released from jail or prison.

Some attorneys say they wonder if the state tacking on additional fees for public defenders makes sense if their clients are already too poor to hire their own attorney.

Jefferson County To Create Public Defender System

Jul 23, 2012

Jefferson County courts are switching to a public defender system in a move meant to control costs.

Circuit Judge Scott Vowell said the new public defender's office will have a dedicated staff of attorneys to represent defendants who cannot afford their own attorney. Right now, judges appoint private lawyers to represent indigent defendants.