‘We are just treading water’: State still struggling to ensure poor people have an attorney

Crushing caseloads had driven a mass exodus of public defenders, leaving 185 criminal defendants too poor to hire an attorney facing incarceration with no one to defend them. Would the lawyers around the table take some of those cases for as little as $60 an hour, a fraction of the $350 to $450 hourly rate their firms typically charge. And regardless of how much time and staff each case took, their payment would be capped at $1,400 for a misdemeanor and $4,100 to $8,000 for felonies. READ MORE