Attorneys Resign From Court-Appointed List

May 9, 2011

Dozens of lawyers in North Carolina are taking their names off the list of court-appointed defense attorneys for low-income clients. The state Office of Indigent Services says it is cutting its compensation rate of 75 dollars an hour for defense attorneys. The Office's executive director says the current budget proposal leaves the department with a 12-million dollar shortfall. The department has not yet decided on a new rate of compensation. Attorney John Cox is one of about 15 lawyers from Alamance County who have submitted letters of resignation. He says the state must announce a new rate before he'll decide whether or not to put his name back on the list.

John Cox: "I think everybody around the state understands that we're all going to have to tighten our belts and everybody's going to have to suffer a little bit, but being asked to do work without being told what you'll be paid for it I think is unprecedented."

Cox says his office can't afford to work for much less than the original rate. Several attorneys in Bladen, Forsyth and Rutherford Counties also took their names off the list.