Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Yesterday I sat through the presentation of Vermont Auditor of Accounts Doug Hoffer's report on the judiciary's collection of public defender co-pays. If you haven't seen the news reports or read the report, it essentially concluded that the judiciary is only collecting about a third of the amount ordered. His report can be found here:

As the auditor said, "to the extent you folks are looking under rocks for money", every dollar not collected impacts the state's finances.His main criticisms of the judiciary is that they don't do anything to collect what the court ordered. Now, of course, this population of defendants may not have a great ability to make payments but a court did order something to be paid. Also, he criticized the court by saying, even though it does have a collection function, they don't collect this money as it isn't theirs but goes into the public defender special fund.

The court administrator and the chief superior judge are expected to reply this afternoon. Their comments to the report can be found in the link above beginning on page 20. I'll report back after that.

Also, this afternoon the judiciary will be presenting its ideas on lightening the load. I've been assured that the VBA will be able to bring in its witnesses to address those things the  court wants to pursue. If you are members of the VBA Sections on Probate, Family, Municipal, or Workers' Comp you've already read most of that through our list serves.

Tonight is the initial meeting of the Joint Committee on Judicial Retention. They will be interviewing Judges Durkin, Howard, Mello and Toor beginning at 5PM. Again, I'll report on that tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

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