The Los Angeles Times examined disparities in pay between public defenders and private panel attorneys paid a flat per-case rate to represent juveniles in delinquency matters in an article published on June 14, 2010. The article highlighted work underway by PJDC through the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN), funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Panel attorneys in Los Angeles County are paid a flat rate of no more than $345 per case, no matter how complex the matter, and must petition the court for fees for the expense of experts or investigators.
The article notes that “L.A. appears to stand apart in its use of a one-payment-fits-all-cases strategy.”
“In San Francisco County, panel lawyers are paid $66 an hour for misdemeanor cases, $83 an hour for felonies and $100 an hour for serious felonies, records show. Alameda County pays panel lawyers $390 to $1,000 a case, depending on the severity of charges, and pays additional fees for other appearances. San Diego County’s juvenile court system handles most conflicts through salaried alternate public defenders and pays at least twice as much for cases referred to private attorneys.”
PJDC Executive Committee members Sue Burrell (Youth Law Center) and Cyn Yamashiro (Loyola Law School Center on Juvenile Law & Policy) were quoted in the article, as well as PJDC member Sherry Gold (Los Angeles Alternate Defender’s Office).