Meeting Public Comments

Meeting informations are as follows:
Date: Monday, May 1, 2023
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Location: RM 103, Sup. Ct. Chamber
Names and comments are public records. Remaining information is considered a confidential record.
Comments Submitted:

Tim Tupper [Retired Attorney]
The Chief Justice has made it clear we face an indigent defense crisis. In criminal court, this means delays in justice for defendants, for victims and for our communities. In juvenile court, this means delays for children returning to their homes of finding new forever families. Why does the crisis exist? Over the last two decades, the statutory rate of compensation has dramatically lagged inflation. According to the 2015 Iowa Bar Survey, the the average hourly overhead expense per attorney $75 an hour as much or more than the contract rate. As a result, literally hundreds of Iowa attorneys like me, have decided they can no longer afford to work as contract attorneys.While the proposed $5 increase for FY2024 keeps up with inflation, it does little to close the inflation gap that has developed over time. It certainly is not enough to reverse the dramatic decline in the number of attorneys willing and able to represent indigent clients. Two charts attached highlight the problem showing the impact of inflation and the decline in the number of contract attorneys.Even worse, the travel time compensation proposed in new section 815.7A is a reduction for guardian ad litems visiting this children clients. This travel time is currently reimbursed at the statutory rate.Even worse, this crisis continues to exist even though the Indigent Defense Fund didnt spend $8 million of its most recent budget (FY2022). Please consider an increase in the statutory contract rate that will end the crisis in our courts. A $5 per hour increase simply continues the current crisis.