Denver, Colorado 2021-10-28 07:51:12 –
A couple in Larimer County first discovered that a public lawyer was too much money to qualify for a publicly funded defense, and then a lawsuit represented them in a criminal case by the Colorado Lawyer’s Office. I hope you will be forced to rethink that.
The proceedings alleged that the public defender’s office mistakenly rejected Dale and Sarah Bullbaker’s application and ignored the state’s rules for assessing the defendant’s finances, instead the public defender’s office. Made a subjective decision to question whether the defendants were treated equally throughout the state.
Dale and Sara Brubaker, 66 and 65, together earn less than $ 3,000 a year. This is a very low income and you must automatically qualify as a public lawyer based on state rules. However, they are not in debt and are worth about $ 125,000 in savings, two vehicles, a Wyoming home and Colorado land totaling $ 338,000. As a result, Larimer County judges determined that they were not poor and needed to hire their own lawyer to mount. Their criminal defense.
“There are some aspects of the financial situation that suspend the court, especially the lack of income, but this is not enough to overcome the extraordinarily large amount of assets owned by the defendant,” Larimer County District Court Laurie said.・ Judge Dean wrote: Brubakers may be sentenced to deny state-funded defense.
According to court records, both Brubakers were charged with felony child abuse, assault, and falsification of evidence in August 2020 for the 2014 case. If convicted, they may face imprisonment of 20 years or more. The couple refused to comment through Christopher Gregory, a lawyer who represents them in the proceedings but is not a criminal case.
Proceedings are easy, but criminal proceedings are complex and expensive. Bullbakers need to provide individual defenses, each of which can cost about $ 100,000, according to estimates submitted to the court by the five lawyers who considered the case.
According to the Colorado Supreme Court guidelines, people with an annual salary of less than the set annual salary ($ 21,775 for a two-person household) are automatically eligible as public counsel. If the defendant’s income is high, its financial position is based on an objective rubric and scores are assigned based on a variety of factors.
If the total score exceeds 150 points, the defendant will qualify as a public defense counsel. Brubakers scored 200 points.
“They simply didn’t do their job in the screening,” Gregory said of the public lawyer’s office. “They came up with their own reason for refusal.”
At a hearing in April, public defender Eric Vanatta told Dean, “We’re looking at someone’s application,” according to a record reviewed by The Denver Post. “I don’t think it’s possible to get an application, run a rubric, and draw pre-determined conclusions, as you’re talking about. In this situation … they’re not just poor.”
According to the transcript, Vanatta added that defendants have extremely low incomes, but rarely have other significant assets.
Maureen Kane, a spokeswoman for the Public Defender Office, refused to comment on the story because of the proceedings in dispute. However, the response to the public record request from the post office indicates that the Public Defender Office is not tracking the number of applications rejected or the reason for the rejection.
That said, it’s hard to tell if other low-income defendants in Colorado have also been denied on the basis of their assets, or if Bullbaker has been approved as a public lawyer if he applied in another jurisdiction. That is.
“This is a very basic concept, but it’s like the heart of everything here,” he said. “Whether or not you apply for a public counsel in Trinidad or Fort Collins, all offices should use the same criteria and you need to document how you evaluate those applications. . “
The internal policy of the elected lawyer to determine indignation, obtained through the request for public records, states that the office follows the guidelines of the State Supreme Court.
The flow chart shows how eligibility is determined. It begins with “Does the applicant’s monthly income fall into the first category of income eligibility requirements?”
If yes, the flowchart shows that the applicant is automatically qualified as a public lawyer.
Low-income couple sues Colorado public defender for not taking case Source link Low-income couple sues Colorado public defender for not taking case