Part 2 Consents
Private attorneys in Clark County, Washington who provide criminal legal services for indigent defendants under a county contract settled charges that they illegally entered into an agreement known as the “Indigent Defense Bar Consortium Contract” to collectively demand higher fees for certain types of cases and refuse to accept specific additional cases unless the Clark County complied with their demands. The county was forced to substantially increase the reimbursement rate for each of the case categories specified in the Consortium Contract. According to the Commission, the conduct of the attorneys was identical to the boycott staged by criminal defense attorneys in Washington, DC which was ruled to be price fixing by the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Superior Court Trial Lawyers Association. Robert Lewis, James Sowder, Gerald Wear, and Joel R. Yoseph, the four attorneys who led the activities and served as the representatives of the 43 attorneys who signed the Consortium Contract, were named in the complaint and in the consent order.