Saturday, April 14, 2007

Defense Fees Too High in Fla. Death Penalty Case?

Blasting 'Overpayment' of Bills in Murder Case, Fla. Judge Halves Defense Fee Request, Daily Bus. Rev. (, April 10:

A veteran Broward County, Fla., Circuit judge has called the legal bills in the capital murder case against a former federal informant one of the "worst" examples of "overpayment" of legal fees and costs that she's ever seen.

* * * With a trial date nowhere in sight, Judge Ana Gardiner slashed the fees requested by Fort Lauderdale, Fla., defense lawyer Barry Butin in half -- to $10,600 -- when Butin recently withdrew from the case after 14 months.

* * * Broward County officials have flagged the case of State v. Luis Martinez as a prime example of why Florida's -- and particularly Broward County's -- system of appointing private attorneys to represent indigent defendants when the public defender's office faces a conflict has far exceeded its budget.

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