Nevada County has thus far funded more than $100,000 for the defense of Phil Lester and Susan Laferte in the ongoing Gold Country Lenders case, according to County CEO Rick Haffey.
Haffey wrote in his weekly Friday Memo that the indigent defense costs for the major real estate fraud case through the 2012/13 fiscal year has totaled $102,000, approximately 20 percent of the total county budget for conflict indigent defense.
“Although only two of the three original defendants remain under prosecution, defense costs increased ($60,000 was spent in the fourth quarter of 2012/13 alone) as the cases entered the more intensive pre-trial and trial phases. The higher costs, Haffey wrote, will continue with the recent appointment of a new defense attorney for one of the clients, and postponement of the trial to February 2014.
The law currently allows for reimbursement counties for indigent defense costs related to murder trials. Additionally, Haffey wrote, the county is working with legislators on a bill (SB 16) to reimburse for other types of trials when the Attorney General is handing investigation and prosecution.