Statute requires state to pay attorney fees on inmate’s appeal

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Indiana Code 33-37-2-4 requires the state to pay appellate attorney fees and expenses when an inmate commits a crime in a state correctional facility, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.

The state appealed the order from Madison County that it pay $5,232.35 in attorney fees and expenses to Anthony Lawrence, who was appointed by the court to file an appeal on behalf of Jeffrey Cook. Cook, an inmate at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, was convicted of murdering another inmate who was a member of a rival gang. Cook was found to be indigent and appointed a public defender for trial. The state paid for the defender, but challenged the bill to pay Lawrence’s fees.

Madison Circuit Judge Dennis Carroll, when ordering the state to pay, noted it had been a longstanding practice for the state to pay the trial and appeal costs of inmates.

The state claimed that the burden of paying for appeals should fall on Madison County. The Court of Appeals held that I.C. 33-37-2-4, which recognizes the financial burden placed on counties containing state correctional facilities, shifts that burden to the state for trial and appellate costs.

“Not requiring the State to pay for the inmate’s appellate attorney fees and expenses—when it pays for the expenses at the trial-court level—would be inconsistent with the statute’s underlying policy and goals and would bring about an unjust result,” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote in In re the Order for the Payment of Attorney Fees and Reimbursement of Expenses, State of Indiana v. Jeffrey Cook, 48A02-1307-MI-615. “This is because the counties have no control if an offender is placed in a facility in its county.”

Vaidik pointed out that the state can dispute counsel’s requested attorney fees and expenses as unreasonable before the trial court orders it to pay those fees. The state could also hire a public defender at a salary to defend the inmates at trial and to file their appeals, she wrote.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.