Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mass. Bar Association Issues Report on Salaries for Criminal Justice Attorneys

The Massachusetts Bar Association recently published a report entitled "Doing Right by Those Who Labor for Justice."   The salaries of Massachusetts prosecutors, public defenders and bar advocate attorneys were compared to "to those of attorneys performing the same functions in comparative jurisdictions, to publicly employed attorneys not involved in the criminal justice system to attorneys in private practice."  The findings showed that the salaries of Massachusetts public defenders are the lowest of any state in the country.  The result is that the "inadequacy of public criminal justice attorneys' salaries makes in extraordinarily difficult to retain lawyers of skill, experience and talent."   Potentially this compromises the constitutional right of a defendant to a speedy trial.  Several recommendations were made.  Among them were raising the starting salary to $55,000 and having salaries indexed to the cost- of -living increases as well as eliminating the cap on the number of hours that can be charged annually by bar advocates.