Legislative watchdog to investigate indigent legal services

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine's legislative watchdog is set to review a potential lack of financial oversight over the state's system of providing legal services to the poor.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the Government Oversight Committee has asked the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability to investigate the state commission charged with providing such legal representation.

The commission's three-person staff oversees over 600 attorneys annually who faced caseloads over 30,000 in 2018.

A recent Sixth Amendment Center report on Maine's system found excessive billing, inadequate attorney performance, conflicts of interest and little to no audit processes.

The watchdog's Executive Director Danielle Fox said her office would investigate what led to overbilling.

The report found 25 attorneys billed roughly $125,000 in 2018.