Wis. court considers appointing civil attorneys - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wis. court considers appointing civil attorneys

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Supreme Court is considering whether to require judges to appoint attorneys to represent people in certain civil cases.

The court held a daylong public hearing Tuesday on the proposal, which would require judges to appoint lawyers in cases involving food, shelter, safety, health and child custody. Supporters say the change would ensure fairer outcomes and reduce the strain on the legal system.

Legal Action of Wisconsin, a law firm that works on behalf of poor people and one of the plan's major backers, estimates the requirement could cost $56 million annually. The firm has suggested counties cover the cost with state reimbursement.

The justices didn't make a decision on Tuesday. They're expected to revisit the issue at their next conference, set for Oct. 17.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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