When he got out of the Air Force in 1981, Ken Murray built his house next to his 3 1/2-acre childhood home in Ohio. Forced recently to choose between a law practice with a strong but unprofitable commitment to indigent criminal defense and his family’s financial needs, he left his home, “which was really, really my home,” and 12 years of private practice to take a job in another part of the country.

As a federal public defender in Phoenix, he can now raise his family, but, he admits, “I’m still a little bitter.” He blames Congress and the federal judiciary for perpetuating an abysmal hourly rate for private attorneys who agree to represent indigent defendants under the 1964 federal Criminal Justice Act (CJA).

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