Blog

Public Defenders are not always free in Nevada

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

One of the first questions that Nevada judges ask recently arrested defendants is if they can afford private counsel. If they answer no, the judge appoints a public defender to represent them. Public defenders are not completely free, however…

Public 20defender

In 2009, the Nevada Supreme Court instructed the state's district courts to start charging indigent defendants who rely on public defenders. These fees get assessed when the case ends. The money then goes into an indigent defense fund in order to pay for public defenders (or for private attorneys judicially-appointed to represent indigent defendants). 

In Clark County, public defender fees range from $250 to $750 depending on how much work the public defender does for the case. Ultimately, the judge has discretion over how much to charge. If the defendant truly has no money, the judge can elect to waive the fee. 

Interestingly, the Clark County Public Defender's Office is against these fees and has attempted to overturn them based on the Sixth Amendment and Gideon v. Wainwright. The PD's office is concerned that indigent defendants may choose to plead guilty early and not fight their charges to ensure they will pay the minimum fees. 

Fees or no fees, public defenders are overworked and unable to accommodate all of Nevada's indigent defendants. Just this past November, the ACLU brought a federal class-action lawsuit claiming that the state's woefully deficient public defender system cheats public defenders out of fair wages and rural defendants out of fair representation.

For more information, see the Las Vegas Review-Journal articles Courts to assess indigent costs and ACLU sues Nevada over the indigent defense in rural counties.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370