CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) _ Iowa is looking for ways to close a growing gap in what is spent on defending the poor and what is paid back by those who use the state's indigent resources.
Legal experts and court officials say most of the time, defendants applying for court-appointed attorneys answer truthfully about their finances, but there's no procedure to verify their honesty.
According to the state public defender's office, indigent defense services cost $55 million in fiscal 2011. The Iowa Judicial Branch received $6 million in payments from offenders who used the services.
Officials say the gap is caused, in part, by offenders' failure or inability to pay back the cost.
Johnson County Judge Stephen Gerard says if courts can follow through in collecting payments, the gap might shrink.