Jim Logan, the director of the Office of Public Defender Services beat us to the punch--sort of--on Tuesday afternoon, issuing a game-changing memo to the private attorneys who contract with Maricopa County to represent indigent clients in criminal cases.
Logan was well-aware that our expose of fraud and malfeasance inside the county's criminal-justice system was about to hit, first on our website late yesterday afternoon and then today in our print edition,
Logan also was convinced (he told us this in an interview) that the story, while focused on the misdeeds of two specific attorneys, Nathaniel Carr III and Stephen Johnson, also was surely not going to reflect well on him or his agency.
So he tried to preempt things a bit, though he didn't mention the pink elephant in the room--the then-pending story--in his blurb to the troops.
Logan's memo states the following:
"It has been pointed out to me that a more accurate method of reviewing billings in cases on which there are more than one [private contract attorney and/or mitigation specialist] billing at an hourly rate would be to hold the billing statements until all of the billings fora period of time are received by this office.
"Once all of the billings have been received, they can be compared to each other to more accurately determine if there are billing errors in any one of them. His makes sense to me and I will begin to do so immediately.
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"This new method, obviously, will result in a longer period of time between the receipt of the invoice by the Office of Public Defender Services [OPDS] and the issuance of a check by Finance. The delays will be the result of OPDS waiting for the arrival of the last monthly invoice on a particular case as well as the longer time it will take me to compare multiple invoices on each case.
"Most of you know that I have done everything possible to expedite the payment processes at OPDS and payments are received quicker from OPDS than almost any other governmental agency in the Valley or even the state. I cannot, however, sacrifice accuracy for speed."
Stay tuned, folks.
This one may be just starting.