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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76301 Find in a Library
Title: Study of Recoupment From Parents for Costs of Legal Representation for Their Children
Author(s): J Miller
Corporate Author: Wisconsin Office of the State Public Defender
United States of America
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 41
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Wisconsin Office of the State Public Defender
Madison, WI 53702
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: According to this report on the study conducted in Wisconsin in 1981, a proposal for recoupment from parents of attorney fees for their children should consider both the financial and human costs of its implementation.
Abstract: This study was coordinated by the client services director for the office of the State public defender and a committee of persons from inside and outside the agency. The study explored questions of the child's right to counsel and eligibility for public defender services, constitutionality of recoupment from parents, and State reimbursement mechanisms. Also studied were national and State standards and reimbursement practices in other public defender systems. A survey of 125 parents was conducted to determine what percent of the families of the juveniles were indigent under public defender standards, and what the attitudes of parents were toward the idea of contributing toward the costs of counsel for their children. The findings showed that, under the present system in Wisconsin, only nine counties reported recouping more than 5 percent of the costs. In many other States, the existing recoupment provisions were not followed and that parents were not, in most cases, required to contribute or that very little money was actually collected. If properly structured, recoupment requirements would meet a constitutional test. However, such a policy requires careful consideration of several factors. For example, any waiver of attorney should not be influenced by parental pressure or fear of parental displeasure. Furthermore, attorneys representing juveniles should be required to explain to the parents the counsel's total loyalty to the child. They should also point out that the parent might not have any control over the case. Statistical data are included. Six attachments include the text of the children's code, a sample of the affidavit of indigency, and maximum monthly payment rate schedule effective August 1, 1980.
Index Term(s): Attorney client relations; Legal fees; Public defenders; Right to counsel; Rights of minors; Wisconsin; Youth advocates
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