Todd, thank you for covering the event related to stopping the pending Amendment to Supreme Court Rule 13. It is worth noting that the 40 and 50 dollar an hour rate of pay is somewhat misleading. Actually, attorneys are paid 40 and 50 per hour subject to set caps on total billing per case, subject to judicial review and AOC review. In order to determine the actual hourly rates, one must take the entire number of hours worked and divide that into the amount paid for the number of hours worked. Alarmingly, you will find that the hourly rates are substantially less than 40 and 50 per hour. After that you must take away the expenses not reimbursed and overhead costs to find that the hourly rate these attorneys actually earn is much much less than 40 and 50. If the bottom line number was 40 and 50 then I believe you would not hear as many complaints.
Lets face it, the indigent defense bar is simply not properly compensated for the heightened responsibility it has, protecting the constitutional rights of the entire citizenry of Tennessee.
It is also worth noting that these attorneys working in the indigent defense bar do not just represent criminal defendants, they represent parents facing losing their children to state's custody and children who are facing going into state's custody.
The indigent defense bar should be given a standing ovation for the honorable work they do protecting the constitutional rights of all Tennesseans and they should be properly compensated for the work they do. Lets not auction off justice.
Thanking you for your attention to this matter, I remain,
Robert L. Foster, Esq.