IN RE THE ORDER FOR THE PAYMENT OF ATTORNEY FEES AND REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES, STATE OF INDIANA, Appellant,
JEFFREY COOK, Appellee
APPEAL FROM THE MADISON CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable Dennis D. Carroll, Judge. Cause No. 48C06-1112-MR-2403.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana; KATHY BRADLEY, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.
ATTORNEY FOR AMICUS CURIAE: CHRISTOPHER A. CAGE, Anderson, Indiana.
VAIDIK, Chief Judge. RILEY, J., and MAY, J., concur.
VAIDIK, Chief Judge
Indiana Code section 33-37-2-4 governs the State's liability for costs of offenses committed by inmates in state correctional facilities. Pursuant to this section, the trial court appointed both a public defender and appellate counsel for Jeffrey Cook, who stabbed to death another inmate at Pendleton Correctional Facility in Madison County, Indiana. Although the State did not contest paying Cook's public defender $23,488.29 in attorney fees and expenses, it contested paying Cook's appellate counsel $5232.35 in attorney fees and expenses. The State believed that Section 33-37-2-4 required the State to pay only trial costs, not appellate costs. Instead, the State believed that Madison County should pay the costs of Cook's appeal. We, however, find that Section 33-37-2-4, which recognizes the financial burden placed on counties containing state correctional facilities, shifts that burden to the State for both trial and appellate costs. Thus, the trial court properly ordered the State to pay Cook's appellate counsel $5232.35 in attorney fees and expenses.
Facts and Procedural History
In July 2011 Cook was an inmate at Pendleton Correctional Facility in Madison County, Indiana. He and another inmate--members of the same gang--stabbed to death inmate Danny Dewitt, a member of a rival gang. The State charged Cook with murder, Class B felony prisoner in possession of a dangerous device or material, and Class D felony criminal gang activity in Madison County. The trial court appointed a public defender for Cook because he was indigent. A jury trial was held, and Cook was found guilty of the three charges. The trial court sentenced him to seventy years for these crimes.
Following sentencing, defense counsel filed a verified billing statement requesting $23,488.29 in attorney fees and expenses for representing Cook at trial. The trial court ordered the Indiana Department of Correction (DOC) to pay defense counsel $23,488.29. Appellant's App. p. 19.
The trial court also appointed appellate counsel to represent Cook on appeal. On May 8, 2013, which was before appellate counsel filed Cook's appellant's brief, appellate counsel filed a petition for partial payment of attorney fees and reimbursement of expenses. He asked the Auditor of the State of Indiana to pay him $5232.35 for reasonable attorney fees and expenses. Id. at 20-21, 23. The trial court approved appellate counsel's petition and ordered the State Auditor to pay him $5232.35 "as a reasonable payment of attorney fees and expenses in this matter."
Id. at 24.
In late June 2013 appellate counsel filed Cook's appellant's brief raising one issue--a jury-instruction issue--and in October we affirmed Cook's convictions.
Cook v. State, 995 N.E.2d 731 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013), trans. denied.
In the meantime, on June 7, 2013, the State, by and through the DOC and the State Auditor, filed a motion to intervene and to correct error. The State argued that because the payment of $5232.35 to appellate counsel would come from the DOC's budgeted funds, it had a right to intervene. The State also argued that Indiana Code section 33-37-2-4, which governs the State's liability for costs of offenses committed by inmates in state ...