Attorney Files Suit Against District Judge - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Attorney Files Suit Against District Judge

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ARDMORE, OK -- An Ardmore lawyer is saying a Carter County district judge has made defendants pay extra fees for legal counsel.

The attorney has filed a lawsuit against the judge.

A part of the Miranda Warning states, "If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."

But attorney Jason May says that wasn't happening legally in a Carter County district court last year.

"He was basically looking over court appointed applications and deciding in his own mind how much these people could afford to pay," said May. "Requiring them to pay that money before giving them a court appointed attorney"

May has filed a lawsuit against Carter County district judge Dennis Morris on behalf on three people who paid additional fees before representation was appointed.

Indigent defendants must pay a $40 application fee for legal counsel. That amount is required by state law.

May says his clients paid that fee. It's another fee not required by state law that had them pulling out their pockets.

"Two of them were required to pay $500 up front, and a third one was required to pay $250 up front," said May.

Judge Morris's office declined comment, but a response to the suit was filed by the state Attorney General's office on Monday.

The response says the three defendants were given the fees after Morris had learned they had the ability to contribute for counsel costs.

The attorney general's office is moving to dismiss the case citing application requirements have now changed since last year when the petitioner's cases took place.

The change eliminates defendants to contribute funds for counsel.

The state also says the payments May's clients made are not equal to the court costs now due.

May says the Oklahoma supreme court has accepted the case and will hear oral argument on April 8.