- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) - Some Franklin County defense attorneys say they will no longer take court-appointed sexual assault cases to protest what they call low pay from the state for their services.

Attorney Walter Hanstein says the $50 rate hasn’t changed since 1999 and that a token increase of $5 in July won’t offset costs incurred while defending clients against a sexual assault charge. He said those cases are often the most difficult and time-consuming cases on the criminal docket.

Hanstein and attorney David Sanders of Livermore Falls said they hope their action, first reported by the Sun Journal of Lewiston, draws legislative attention to the low-pay issue.

Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services records indicate only 11 of the 32 public defenders listed in Franklin County are qualified to take sexual-assault cases.

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