Should Courts be Required to Pay for Expert Witnesses?

The Indiana Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments last week on whether state courts should be required to pay for translators to assist defendants who do not understand English. This brings up an interesting debate as to whether state courts should be required to pay for expert witness fees as well.

Many state courts, including Indiana, will pay for some expert witness fees for defendants who cannot afford them. This is usually the case when the defendant is represented by a public defender. When the defendant has his or her own private attorney, most courts will not allow the state to pay for expert witnesses. As stated by one judge, “if you can afford your own attorney, you can afford your own expert witnesses.”

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