Supreme Court rules for defendants who can’t pay legal fees

September 19, 2018

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Supreme Court of New Hampshire says defendants who have failed to pay fees for their public defender cannot be jailed without adequate due process.

The court released the unanimous ruling on Tuesday in favor of an indigent defendant who failed to repay around $450 to the state. New Hampshire Public Radio reports that in New Hampshire, defendants represented by a public defender may receive a bill to cover the share of the costs.

If the fees are not payed, the Office of Cost Containment can attempt to recoup costs through a repayment schedule or can ask a court for a bench warrant. The new ruling means the defendant must still be represented by a lawyer who can advocate for them.

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