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Maine's Funding For Court-Appointed Lawyers Runs Out

AUGUSTA, Maine - Attorneys in Maine appointed to defend people who can't afford a lawyer will have to wait nearly two months to get paid after state funding ran out.

The Portland Press Herald reports that court-appointed lawyers won't get paid until the new fiscal year, which starts July 1.

John Pelletier, executive director of the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services, said lawmakers didn't set aside enough money in the two-year budget but had said they would fill the gap if necessary.

Lawmakers approved $15.5 million for indigent defense for the fiscal year ending June 30, less than the $18.4 million the commission recommended.

Pelletier said money also ran out in 2013 but lawmakers were able to fund the shortfall before the fiscal year ended.