Court: Judges must offer chance to object to attorney fees


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina court says convicted criminals can dispute the cost for their court-appointed attorney with a judge if they’re told to pay up.

The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that trial judges must tell defendants they can challenge their attorneys’ fees.

The court said defendants are told to let their lawyer do their talking during the trial, so they might not know they can voice objections if they think their attorney is charging fees that are unreasonable for the time or effort involved in the case.

The decision comes in the case of Charles Friend, who was convicted in Catawba County of burglary and stabbing a friend. He was told to pay $1,750 for his lawyer and is serving a sentence of more than five years.

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