Tom McKenna writes that when it comes to court appointed compensation for lawyers, the proof is in the pudding. Attorneys wouldn’t do it if they weren’t making a profit, right?
For every under-compensated case there might be ten that are adequately or even over-compensated. That is, since the vast majority of criminal cases are uncontested and only involve plea negotiations, they can be handled relatively quickly.
In many cases, an attorney can meet his client, talk to the prosecutor right before court, and negotiate a plea and/or a sentence, and spend only an hour or so of his or her time.
Well, Tom’s a prosecutor, so maybe he thinks it’s to his advantage when an attorney only talks to the client for 15 minutes, and has no time to investigate potential innocence claims, or research various legal issues that might be favorable for the defense.
But sometimes one hour is not enough time to “adequately” defend your client… court appointed attorneys should definitely be paid more.