Commission on Indigent Defense runs out of money again

It sounds like a temporary issue through July, but the excess funds for the next month will have to come from somewhere and they need to be planning for the upcoming years.  More people arrested + bad economy = bigger load on public defender offices and more appointed attorneys in conflict cases.  Announcement from SCCID:

South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense voucher payments suspended until approximately July 1, 2012

The South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense will no longer be able to make payments on vouchers received for Criminal Conflicts, Death Penalty, and Civil Appointment cases. Requests for payments this fiscal year are at or near record levels and SCCID has expended the amount of funds SCCID is authorized to expend as established by State law. Please continue to submit your vouchers and when the FY 2012-2013 budget year begins on July 1, 2012 the Agency will be able to commence payment on those vouchers submitted, barring any unforeseen issues with the current (FY 12-13) budget process.

Nationwide, legislatures continue to devalue and defund services for indigent defense, while law enforcement budgets continue to rise.  Payment of vouchers for federal CJA cases has also been suspended, until Congress approves additional funding.

The State Senate did finally pass the bill adding 9 judges, 6 in family court and 3 in circuit court.  Senator Harvey Peeler, who was obstructing the passage of the bill, removed his objections although he still voted against it, saying “It was obvious that the will of the Senate was to create the nine new judges,” Peeler said. “I didn’t want to be an obstructionist.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *