Westmoreland gives court-appointed lawyers a raise
Dozens of lawyers appointed to handle Westmoreland County court cases are getting raises.
County commissioners on Thursday approved a 33 percent increase in pay for court-appointed lawyers who work in family and criminal courts.
The raises were proposed by the court administration office, which said the $45-an-hour rate had not changed in more than a decade.
Court-appointed lawyers will now earn $60 an hour.
“The attorneys have been asking for this for several years,” said Court Administrator Paul Kuntz.
Lawyers are appointed by judges to handle cases when private attorneys are not retained. Appointments typically are made to represent children in custody, guardianship cases and adoptions.
Criminal lawyers for indigent defendants who can't be represented by the public defender's office will be appointed at the new hourly rate to handle post-sentence appeals and to represent defendants in murder cases.
The number of court-appointed lawyers was reduced last year when the county moved to a conflict counsel system in which 10 attorneys were hired at a $20,000 base salary to oversee 38 cases.
Officials said that plan saved county taxpayers $70,000 last year and was renewed for 2014.
The county paid court-appointed lawyers more than $368,000 in 2011 and $278,000 in 2012.
Kuntz said the change will cost taxpayers $200,000 a year.
Family court uses about 60 percent of the lawyers who are appointed by the courts, he said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ligonier Valley YMCA marks start of 32,000-square-foot expansion
- Fracking foes pack zoning discussion in Ligonier Township
- Women to stand trial in theft of drugs from Norwin Pharmacy
- Police searching for man who pulled over high school student in Export
- Westmoreland judge offers Court in the Classroom
- Fayette prosecutors face challenge in refiling cold-case murder charges against Mt. Pleasant man
- Dog found shot dead in cardboard box in Derry Township
- Unity man’s bar pays homage to Latrobe’s Rolling Rock
- Ex-Hempfield vet clinic worker charged in theft of $269K
- Geneva College student died of heart-related natural causes, coroner says
- WCCC plans 25% tuition increase for 2015-16