Idea of Indiana Paying Public Defenders Stirs Debate

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP) – The salaries of Indiana judges and prosecutors are paid by the state, but public defenders who stand up for the poor are paid in a hodgepodge of ways by counties that receive only a partial reimbursement for their costs.
Indiana Public Defender Council Executive Director Larry Landis thinks it's time to pay public defenders the same way prosecutors are paid. The idea surfaced in a legislative committee meeting Monday.
House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown says he's open to the idea if it can gain broad support.
But the state paying the salaries of public defenders that represent those who can't afford to hire their own attorney may be an idea whose time hasn't quite arrived. Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley says the state simply doesn't have the money.