Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jax Lawyer Jacks System for 700K of SPD Funds

And you think Chris Roberts had a problem? Since July, a Jacksonville lawyer has billed Florida taxpayers nearly $700,000 with questionable invoices that reflect an impossible workload, according to the agency that pays private attorneys appointed to represent indigent defendants.

At $90 an hour, David Taylor billed the state for more than 24 hours of work on two dozen separate days in 2008, a Justice Administrative Commission audit showed last month, including 42 hours in one day. He has billed for more than 16 hours on at least 100 more days, the commission said. Now he is selling real estate and apparently swampland in the Glades. Look at the picture above.

Questions about Taylor's sworn invoices led commissioners on Feb. 24 to cancel his contracts for court-appointed cases and challenge his invoices in court. The agency called his billing excessive, duplicative and more than twice that of the next highest paid court-appointed lawyer in Florida, who unlike Taylor exclusively handles first-degree murder cases in Miami.

"We just have no confidence in the accuracy of the billing," commission attorney Stephen Presnell testified in a Jacksonville hearing. Based on commission records, Presnell called Taylor the "highest-paid attorney in Florida."

This story from the Jacksonville paper,

reminds me of a cartoon from the New Yorker. A young lawyer passes in an accident and shows up to the gates of St. Peter seeking admittance, and is asked his age: '35,' he replies.

'But that cannot be,' says St. Peter, 'based on your billing records alone, you have to be at least 68 years old.'

I think that is how many years this guy is going to get. I guess this is why we did away with SPD appointments, which greased so many for so long. Still, somewhere between SPD and Conflict Counsel, there is a better medium which serves the public interest. What we have now is ineffective, unfair, and counter productive. We are not only not serving the poor; we are hurting them. It is not that we have non feasance, we have mastered malfeasance.

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