Regarding the news story “Reimbursement rates cut for court-appointed private attorneys” (Sept. 10 and TribLIVE.com): This decision by senior federal circuit court judges is a highly regrettable action.
The federal government and state courts like to pretend that indigent defendants can obtain (and indeed, are entitled to) essential legal counsel. However, in many instances, the courts do not approve even reasonably modest fees for attorneys and appropriate experts in such cases. The system is to a great extent a sham — unethical, immoral hypocrisy.
In medicine, if an indigent patient requires a particular kind of diagnostic or therapeutic procedure, the system pays for appropriate, fully trained specialists to perform whatever is necessary. The patients are not operated upon by a medical student or intern.
Why is there not an outcry by intelligent, decent, fair-minded judges, attorneys, news media, etc., about this blatant travesty of justice?
Cyril H. Wecht
The writer is a former Allegheny County coroner.
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