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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 26, 2004

Mass. Advocates Seek Fair Funding and Fees

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:54 pm

The Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys is in a fight with the administration of Governor Mitt Romney, hoping to establish a funding mechanism that meets constitutional requirements and assures assigned counsel fair compensation for their legal services.


As stated in an MACAA press release issued 02-26-04:

scales rich poor neg  Constitutionally mandated court functions must be fully funded by direct appropriation. Contingent funding for core court functions and indigent representation is unconstitutional. Funding public defenders from indigent counsel fees was found unconstitutional on February 12, 2004 in Minnesota, and has been found unconstitutional in other states.

An independent judiciary requires full, secure funding by direct appropriation, as does the sixth amendment right to counsel.

The Governor’s proposal to use so-called “retained revenue” to fund constitutionally mandated core functions constitutes contingent funding, illegally attempting to balance the Commonwealth’s budget on the backs of the poor.

We posted on the Minnesota decision regarding unconsitutional co-pays by indigent defendants on Feb. 12, 2004.  Massachusetts (at $150) charges indigent defendants three times as much as Minnesota ($50) in District Court cases.  You can learn much more about these issues on the What’s New page of the Bristol County (Mass.) Bar Advocates.  MACAA will be presenting testimony at a legislative hearing on Feb. 27, 2004, in Boston.

  • Yes. these are the same Bar Advocates, I wrote so frequently about last Fall (e.g., here).  They don’t need or want my blessing for their legislative and educational efforts, but I’m pleased to see all this hard work on the right side of the antitrust and ethics line.

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