Wisconsin Assigned Counsel Rate Public Comment (May 2018)

In 2018 NACDL filed a public comment in support of a Petition before the Wisconsin Supreme Court to raise the rate of compensation for court appointed counsel, and declaring its current $40 per hour rate as unreasonable. The Court refused to hold the state's rate unreasonable, but did elect to raise its own court assigned case rate from $70/hour to $100/hr.


NACDL's comment highlights the responsibility courts have to ensuring the quality of justice, and thus the responsibility they have to assure the compensation paid to court appointed counsel is sufficient to secure counsel with the skills, knowledge, experience, training and time to provide constitutionally effective representation.

After reviewing the comments and testimony, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an order raising its own rate to $100/hour but declining to declare the state funded $40/hour rate unreasonable. The court delayed implementation of the new rate until January 2020. The issues raised by the petition and the court’s ruling have spurred additional action—in 2019 the state legislature raised the hourly rate for court appointed counsel to $70/hour.

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