Public Defender Pay Stirring Debates

The question of how to pay public defenders in Indiana is  stirring debate. 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. The leader of the Indiana Public Defender Council says it's time to pay public defenders the same way prosecutors are paid. The idea surfaced in a legislative committee meeting Monday. However, 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.