- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland’s district courts are hoping to find attorneys willing to represent poor defendants at bail review hearings.

The court system announced Thursday that a new program will pay $50 an hour to attorneys who offer their time and legal expertise to represent defendants who can’t afford them. They’ll also be reimbursed for mileage and tolls. It’s expected to launch on July 1.

The program is the first of its kind in the nation and is meant to comply with a Court of Appeals ruling that Marylanders have a right to legal counsel at all bail hearings.

John Morrissey, the incoming chief judge of the District Court, says the program will appeal to veteran attorneys who want to work an occasional shift or young attorneys who are launching a criminal practice.

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