AL Spending Less on Indigent Defendants

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- State officials say the amount of money spent hiring public defenders for people who can't afford legal representation has dropped over time.

The state spent about $65 million on indigent defense in 2011.

According to the Alabama Department of Finance, the state plans to spend about $46 million on indigent defense in 2013.

Republican state Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster says money set aside for public defenders representing those who can't afford attorneys was being abused by lawyers who would overcharge the state.

Legislation that passed in 2011 established an office within the Finance Department to monitor indigent defense expenses. The fees that are paid to attorneys who are representing the indigent can vary from county to county.

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