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Trial Judges’ Perceptions of North Carolina’s Office of Indigent Defense Services: A Report on Survey Results


“Two of the most striking survey results were (1) the 80 of 119 judges who observed an impact on the quality of representation provided by assigned counsel that they attribute to the 2011 reduction in rates paid to such counsel and (2) the 59 of 66 judges who indicated in a follow-up question that the quality of indigent representation had suffered as a result. In their comments, judges raised concerns about experience, availability, and preparation. In other words, they associated the rate reductions with several of the key concerns they had described in response to earlier questions about their satisfaction with IDS administration of indigent defense. This further indicates that decisions related to PAC compensation rates can affect the overall quality of indigent representation.”