State saves millions on attorneys' fees for indigent defendants - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

State saves millions on attorneys' fees for indigent defendants

Posted: Updated:
Branch Kloess looks through a case he's working on for an indigent defendant. Branch Kloess looks through a case he's working on for an indigent defendant.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Huntsville school board member named in civil suit by former employer

    Huntsville school board member named in civil suit by former employer

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-08-22 03:56:59 GMT
    Mike Culbreath is accused of conspiring with James Packard, a competing developer, to convince potential tenants to choose a competing development in the City of Huntsville.More >>
    Mike Culbreath is accused of conspiring with James Packard, a competing developer, to convince potential tenants to choose a competing development in the City of Huntsville.More >>
  • Three children found in home with meth lab outside

    Three children found in home with meth lab outside

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:30:49 GMT
    Authorities arrested Ashley Freeno and Christopher Silva after finding a methamphetamine lab outside their home. Further investigations revealed that drugs and other paraphernalia were inside their home where three young children live.The Department of Human Resources have placed the children into the custody of family members.Freeno was charged with manufacturing meth in the 2nd degree and two counts of possession. Silva was charged with manufacturing meth in the 1st degree and two counts of...More >>
    Authorities arrested Ashley Freeno and Christopher Silva after finding a methamphetamine lab outside their home. Further investigations revealed that drugs and other paraphernalia were inside their home where three young children live.The Department of Human Resources have placed the children into the custody of family members.Freeno was charged with manufacturing meth in the 2nd degree and two counts of possession. Silva was charged with manufacturing meth in the 1st degree and two counts of...More >>
  • Man arrested after agents seized over one pound of meth, three firearms, and one vehicle

    Man arrested after agents seized over one pound of meth, three firearms, and one vehicle

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:11 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:11:14 GMT
    On Aug 14, the Madison-Morgan STAC Team and Morgan County Drug Task Force responded to complaints from the community near Hulaco Road.Upon arrival, a search warrant was carried out at the home of Dustin Tyler Smith in Joppa Alabama.Agent had begun a new investigation Agents seized over one pound of methamphetamine, three firearms, and one vehicle.Smith was arrested in 2013 for trafficking in methamphetamine. He was out on bond and also on Community Corrections regarding his most recent arrest...More >>
    On Aug 14, the Madison-Morgan STAC Team and Morgan County Drug Task Force responded to complaints from the community near Hulaco Road.Upon arrival, a search warrant was carried out at the home of Dustin Tyler Smith in Joppa Alabama.Agent had begun a new investigation Agents seized over one pound of methamphetamine, three firearms, and one vehicle.Smith was arrested in 2013 for trafficking in methamphetamine. He was out on bond and also on Community Corrections regarding his most recent arrest...More >>
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Branch Kloess routinely works on cases for indigent defendants.

"We charge for our services based on what we do--whether it's a preliminary hearing or a bond hearing or filing motions or research or trials."

The rate he's allowed to charge the state for that work, though, has changed.

And it's all because a law legislators passed in 2011 allows the state to reduce the rate to save money.

"That wasn't a really big deal for me and I don't know anyone who has made a real issue out of it. But that was the biggest change. I just don't know how they're gonna save this much money," adds Kloess.

Kloess says the state already caps attorneys' compensation--meaning his pay stops at a certain point even if the case isn't closed.

"Probably won't make any more income on that case because we're already maxed out."

Also, the number of cases have increased over the years.

"You're talking thousands and thousands of cases every year."

That means more attorneys...and more fees.

Kloess hopes the state can save the money.

Either way, he'll still serve indigent defendants.

"This is something that I've chosen to do. I've done it for almost 25 years now. Hopefully, if we get paid, fine. And if we don't, we do it because we're providing, I think, a very valuable service to the citizens."

By the end of the year state finance officials hope the indigent defense costs decrease from $65 million a year to $46 million.

Before the law was passed capping attorneys' compensation, each case was costing the state roughly $800. Now, that number is about $600.

Copyright 2013  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1414 North Memorial Parkway
Huntsville, AL 35801
256-533-4848

WAFF Is a Proud Member
of the Raycom Family of Stations


FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WAFF. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.