The Wisconsin Counties Association says justice is moving slower due to inadequate compensation for public defenders. Attorneys who take on court-appointments as public defenders are paid $40-an-hour, a fee that was set in 1995 when the state legislature cut the pay rate from $50-an-hour. That's left defendants waiting weeks before a court-appointed attorney can be found to take their cases. Kewaunee County District Attorney Andrew Naze says that hasn't been a problem for small counties like Kewaunee. However, he says it's time to increase compensation for public defenders.
Lawyers and judges statewide say the current compensation rate for public defenders doesn't even cover an attorneys expenses.