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Crime and Courts

Attorneys For Poor Clients Hard To Find In Some Parts Of Kansas

Stephen Koranda file photo

It’s not easy for the board that organizes legal defense for poor Kansans charged with crimes. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, in some areas they’re running low on attorneys willing to work for what they can pay.

It can be hard to find attorneys willing to work on high-level defense cases for $65 per hour--that’s according to Patricia Scalia, director of the Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services. She says they’re already sometimes seeking attorneys who don’t live near the defendants, requiring a lot of travel.

“We have about exhausted the number of attorneys who are licensed in Kansas. If this continued, it wouldn’t be too much longer before we were having to bring in attorneys from other states,” Scalia says.

Scalia says because of some budget savings, they’ve increased the rate they pay slightly to $65 per hour from $62. She says they’ll be asking the state for additional funding because that’s still well below the $80 per hour generally called for in state law.