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Auditor Faults Judiciary On Collecting Public Defender Fees

WAMC file photo

Vermont Auditor of Accounts Doug Hoffer is out with a new report criticizing the state's court system for not being aggressive enough about collecting fees due from criminal defendants who are represented by public defenders.
Hoffer says defendants racked up $3.1 million in such fees from 2012 through 2014, and that as of November, the state had collected less than a third of them.

Court Administrator Patricia Gabel released a statement saying the courts are working to improve their collections system.

In a formal response attached to Hoffer's report, judicial officials rebuffed Hoffer's suggestion that fees be collected before public defenders begin representing defendants. The response said defendants have a constitutional right to counsel, and a demand for up-front payment can't be allowed to interfere with that.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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