Defenders of poor work without pay as lawmakers debate

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Hundreds of court-appointed attorneys in Maine are working without pay while lawmakers are in the heat of budget negotiations.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage's latest budget proposal would only fund the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services through January without paying back the 400 lawyers currently working without pay.



But Democrats and a Republican on the appropriations committee say they support paying back lawyers and providing funding for two more years.

The commission received $35 million over the last two years, but didn't receive the extra funds it expected this year to fill a hole created by lawmakers in the last round of budget negotiations.

Several attorneys agreed with LePage that the current system lacks performance standards, accountability and oversight.

Supporters said the system just needs more resources.

 

© 2017 Associated Press


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