Justices to settle dispute over prisoners' legal bills
Posted August 25
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has agreed to resolve a dispute among lower courts over how much prisoners must pay their lawyers when they win civil rights lawsuits against their jailers.
The justices on Friday said they would review a ruling by the federal appeals court in Chicago that required a prisoner to pay his lawyers a quarter of the $308,000 judgment he won after being beaten by corrections officers at an Illinois prison. Other appeals courts have held that prisoners must pay up to a quarter of the judgment, giving trial judges discretion to settle on a lower percentage.
The defendants in the suits pay the rest of the lawyers' costs.
Federal law says a portion of the judgment "not to exceed 25 percent" must go to attorney's fees.