The Orlando Sentinel
Shortfall leaves attorneys, court reporters in lurch as DeSantis ponders budget
Indigent criminal defendant not represented by the Public Defender’s Office, because of conflict issues, may now see their cases delayed or even go to trial not fully prepared. The Justice Administrative Commission pays attorneys, investigators, experts, etc., on behalf of those criminal defendants whose cases have been conflicted by the Public Defender.
Lawyers are usually assigned these cases, often times very serious cases such as murders, with the understanding that they will be reimbursed, to a certain extent, for their expenses in representing these indigent clients by the JAC. However, because of a $17 million shortfall, there has been a delay in paying lawyers, investigators, court reporters, etc.
It’s anticipated that when Governor Desantis signs the new budget, $91.1 billion, the JAC will receive $188.5 million. This should not only reimburse vendors, but also cover any future budget concerns.
~Daniel Garza, Criminal Defense Attorney