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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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