A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

PA Supreme Court Order re. capital fees 09.28.11Click to download

Defense fees in Philly death penalty cases probed
Published 08:40 p.m., Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Houston Chronicle website

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered a Philadelphia judge to look into a death penalty defense group’s assertion that the city’s pay rate for lawyers who represent the poor in capital cases is so low that it violates the constitutional right to an effective defense.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/pZhE0A ) said the high court on Wednesday’s told Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner to hold hearings within 90 days and make recommendations within 60 days after that.

The petition by the nonprofit Atlantic Center for Capital Representation says pay for court-appointed death penalty lawyers is the lowest in Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. They say lawyers in Philadelphia death penalty cases get $2,000 for trial preparation and daily $200 to $400 fees, while those in other counties get $50 to $125 per hour.

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