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Budget boost increases compensation max for federal defenders

April 2, 2018

A federal funding boost that created increased hourly rates for federal public defenders has also caused an increase in compensation maximums for non-capital federal defenders.

The U.S. Judiciary announced last week that it received a $7.1 billion allocation for discretionary appropriations as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which President Donald Trump signed into law on March 23. The amount represented a 2.7 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2017’s allocation and enabled to judiciary to increase hourly rates for federal defenders to $140 and $188 in non-capital and capital cases, respectively.

That rate increase led to an increase in case compensation maximums for defenders in non-capital cases, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana announced on March 29. Any vouchers for compensable work submitted on or after March 23 will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $10,900 for felony and non-capital habeas cases. That’s a $600 increase from the previous case maximum, which applied to vouchers for work completed between May 5, 2017 and March 22, 2018.

The hourly rate increase also created an increase for case maximums in other federal case types, including:

  • Misdemeanors, $3,100
  • Appeals, $7,800
  • Other, $2,300

The federal budget also includes $410 million in funding for the Legal Services Corporation, an allocation that is expected to benefit Indiana Legal Services.

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