Judge: Counties shouldn't pay for regional counsel

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A judge says the Legislature violated the Florida Constitution when it passed a law requiring counties to cover the costs of court-appointed attorneys.

The 2007 Legislature created regional counsel offices to replace court-appointed attorneys.

Twenty-five counties claimed that legislation violated the Florida Constitution by shifting funding responsibilities for those offices from the state to the counties.

Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper agreed Thursday that the
Legislature had "run afoul" of the constitution by requiring
counties to pay for the regional offices.

He also said the constitution clearly spells out that counties are not responsible for funding court-appointed counsel.

The Florida Association of Counties calls the judge's opinion "a great order for the counties."

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