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Feds cutting fees for court-appointed lawyers

Sequestration is hitting federal court-appointed lawyers in the wallet.

The Executive Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference has reduced hourly rates for court-appointed panel attorneys by $15 an hour.

The change is described as an “emergency move” to preserve federal defender staffing in FY 2014.

Some lawyers will have to wait for their pay, as well. Payments to panel attorneys for up to four weeks of work done in FY 2014 will be deferred to FY 2015, the Judicial Conference reports.

An Aug. 16 letter described the moves as temporary and undesirable, but said they are “necessary to avoid permanent damage to the federal defender program.”

Federal judges recently protested the expected cuts in a letter to the U.S. Senate.

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