Costs of Defending Indigent Tennessee Death Penalty Cases

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Lawmakers and others studying the death penalty in Tennessee are analyzing how much money is spent defending indigent cases.

Libby Sykes, director of Tennessee's Administrative Office of the Courts, says the state spent more than $20 million defending indigent cases last year. Those costs included fees for investigations, attorneys and expert witnesses.

Democratic state Sen. Doug Jackson says he's concerned that the office arbitrarily bases its decisions on whether to approve or deny funding on its budget without considering the legal needs of defendants.

Sykes says the office does not have the money to increase the rates they pay attorneys to take on indigent cases.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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