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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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