In re Edwards

Petitioner sought release from commitment as a sexually dangerous person. After being found indigent, Petitioner filed a motion requesting that the judge authorize funds to retain the services of an independent qualified examiner to evaluate Petitioner and to assist in the preparation of his case. The judge approved the motion for funds in the amount of $2,500. Petitioner subsequently retained a licensed psychologist who agreed to conduct an evaluation of Petitioner and to testify at trial at the hourly rate approved by the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS): $190 an hour. After trial, Petitioner moved for the authorization of an additional $2,060 to compensate the psychologist. The trial judge allowed the motion in the amount of $1,500. The appeals court denied Petitioner's appeal, concluding that the judge did not err in limiting the expert's compensation to $4,000, which was "reasonable under the circumstances." The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a judge is bound by CPCS's determination of an hourly rate but still retains the authority to determine whether the total amount billed is reasonable; and (2) the judge in this case acted in accordance with these limits in determining the reasonable amount of the expert's fee. View "In re Edwards" on Justia Law