Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Today is Giving Tuesday!! For every gift made today five meals will be donated to the New Hampshire Food Bank.

New Hampshire's Court-Appointed Lawyers Get First Raise In 22 Years

Dreamstime via Flickr CC

For the first time in decades, court-appointed lawyers who represent the poorest  clients will get a raise.

The raise from $60 to $100 dollars an hour would apply only to major crimes that take hundreds of attorney hours, like capital murder, and felonious sexual assault. The maximum fee cap for those crimes will also increase from $4,100 to $8,000.

Usually, indigent defendants are assigned staff attorneys with the nonprofit New Hampshire Public Defender.  When those lawyers have a conflict of interest, the court appoints a contract attorney.  Chris Keating heads up the New Hampshire Judicial Council, which is responsible for those contracts.

“When lawyers take these appointed cases they are losing money every hour that they handle one of these cases,” says Keating." 

For that reason, Keating says, the risk is too high for private attorneys  to take on cases that are very time consuming. This raise still wouldn’t compete with private sector rates, but Keating says it will make it easier for the state to contract attorneys for time-consuming cases. 

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.