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Tag Archives: IDS

Senate budget better for IDS, worse for DA’s (access required)

The North Carolina Senate's budget panel is calling for a spending plan that is vastly different from the House's proposal when it comes to the state's Indigent Defense Services and Conference of District Attorneys. The Senate Appropriations Committee plan announced last week would reduce IDS's budget for fiscal year 2012 by $8.9 million, a large cut, but considerably less than the $11.3 million cut passed by the House. District attorneys, however, didn't fare as well in the Senate.

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Paper taken to task for IDS stories (access required)

The May 16 edition of the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly had, on its Page 1, a story that has brought upon the newspaper a great deal of criticism. The article, headlined "Phony indigents may be draining defense funds," dealt with the state's problem with providing legal counsel for the indigent. The story brought up criticism by one attorney and doubts expressed by other sources about whether all of the accused who are given free legal counsel actually deserve it.

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Indigent Services general counsel dismayed by two NCLW articles (access required)

I am writing to express my extreme dismay at the article that Lawyers Weekly published by staff writer Paul Tharp in the May 16, 2011, issue, which was poorly researched at best and misleading in its entirety. The lead article on the front page, "Phony Indigents May Be Draining Defense Funds," is extremely irresponsible journalism that undermines IDS' efforts to obtain adequate funding for indigent defense, something that is the state's constitutional obligation, based solely on anecdotal and unsupported statements of opinion. The article cites Wilmington attorney James McGee as stating that indigent means "destitute" and that most defendants who apply for appointed counsel are not indigent.

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IDS official blames appointed-lawyer mess on DAs’ group (access required)

A "totally inappropriate" presentation on March 30 at the North Carolina Legislature touched off the turmoil in North Carolina's indigent-defense system, an official with the state's Indigent Defense Services said. Angered by the prospect that the Legislature will cut their pay, court-appointed lawyers across the state have removed their names from the appointment lists, an action that could upset the administration of justice for defendants who cannot afford private lawyers. In addition, two outfits representing each side of the criminal justice system - the Indigent Defense Services and the Conference of District Attorneys - are sparring over the motivation of that March 30 presentation.

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Phony indigents may be draining defense funds (access required)

While dozens of North Carolina lawyers have stalked away in protest from the state's indigent-defense system in the last two weeks, a few voices are asking whether the protesters are targeting the wrong enemy. The lawyers who have left are upset that state lawmakers, facing an unrelenting budget squeeze, are considering cutting the appointed-lawyer fee, which stands at $75 an hour.

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A decade in, IDS goes from controversial to institutional (access required)

Ten years ago, North Carolina's criminal justice system was in the Dark Ages. Today, it's seen the light. That's according to Raleigh defense attorney Joe Cheshire V, who still applauds the General Assembly for establishing an office to oversee the legal representation of the state's poorest defendants in 2000. The Office of Indigent Defense Services was created to fix "a criminal justice system that had absolutely no structure," said Cheshire, who served on the study group that recommended the agency's creation and is now IDS Commission chair.

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