Low-Paid Fla. Prosecutors, Defenders Are Quitting

Prosecutors and public defenders in Florida are leaving their low-paying jobs at alarming rates, according to the offices that employ them.

The Miami Herald cites statistics from the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office. It lost 126 out of 291 attorneys in 2005 and 2006. The public defender’s office there lost 63 of 192 attorneys over the same period.

The newspaper profiled prosecutor Allison Haney, who buys food on credit and public defender Ayana Harris, who taps her parents for money when she’s hit with car repairs or a vet bill. Haney earns $50,000 after three years on the job and has $130,000 in debt, most of it from school loans; Harris earns $56,000 after nearly six years at the public defender’s office and has about $140,000 worth of debt, about $20,000 of it from interest that has accumulated since she deferred her school loans.

(The ABA Journal profiled a young Michigan government attorney’s struggle with debt in its April 2007 issue.)

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