A proposal to make lawyers pay the costs of defending poor people – instead of making their clients foot the bill – has been turned aside in the State Senate. Most of the lawyers in the State Senate do not want to pay an extra $125 a year to renew their law licenses with the proceeds going to Legal Aid, the system that provides legal help to the indigent. Senator Harold Caskey objects to a provision in a proposed judicial reform law that adds court fees in all cases in municipal, associate circuit, circuit, and appeals courts. Caskey says the failure of Legal Aid will force lawyers to provide free representation for the indigent. He says he’d rather pay a little bit up-front each year than to provide more free legal help if Legal Aid goes out of business. But the Senate has defeated his plan.
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