The County is paying indigent defense costs for the major real estate fraud case known as Lester et al. Costs for this case began in the fall of 2012 and total costs through fiscal year 12/13 are $102,000, approximately 20 percent of the total county budget for conflict indigent defense. In an earlier interview with KNCO, former County CFO Joe Christoffel explains concerns about potential costs.
Click here to listen to Former County CFO, Joe Christoffel
Although only two of the three original defendants remain under prosecution, defense costs increased (the attached chart shows that $60,000 was spent in the fourth quarter of 12/13 alone) as the cases entered the more intensive pre-trial and trial phases, and those higher costs will continue with the recent appointment of a new defense attorney for one of the clients, and postponement of the trial to February 2014.
The law currently allows for reimbursement counties for indigent defense costs related to murder trials. Additionally, the County is working with legislators on a bill (SB 16) to reimburse for other types of trials when the Attorney General is handing investigation and prosecution.
(Courtesy Nevada County Administration)