Are You Waiting to Have an Attorney Appointed to Represent You?
In many counties in Wisconsin the State Public Defender has had difficulty finding attorneys willing and able to represent persons accused of crimes. Typically the problem is caused by a shortage, or even an absence, of attorneys in or near the county who are willing to accept an appointment to represent somebody charged with a crime. This is because state law mandates that those attorneys who are appointed are compensated at only $40/hour, the lowest such rate in the nation. Many lawyers simply cannot afford to take those cases because the compensation may not even cover their overhead expenses.
This often means that people are sitting in jail for days or even weeks waiting for an attorney so they can go to court seeking released on bail. The Sixth Amendment to the U.S.Constituiton guarantees that you have a right to an attorney at every stage of a prosecution.You should not be forced to try to represent yourself or go to court without an attorney.
In an effort to help address this problem, we have developed a form that can be used by defendants to ask the judge to appoint a lawyer to be paid by the county, not the State Public Defender. The County is required to pay an attorney in such a situation at least $70/hour.
This form is found at this link: Petition for the Appointment of Counsel at County Expense
We encourage you to download the form, fill in the blanks, and submit it to the judge in your case. You might consider downloading two copies and completing them identically so you can keep a copy for yourself.