The forced cuts in federal spending means federal public defenders must cut staff by as much as 50%, but the law demands far more expensive private attorneys must be hired to replace them.
"While these cuts have strained the system, the anticipated cuts for next year will be much worse. Because nearly 90 percent of a Federal Defender office’s budget is dedicated to pay salaries and rent, no amount of cost shifting can avoid the layoffs required in the face of the impending shortfall. As a result, federal defenders will be forced to continue laying off between 30 percent and 50 percent of their staff and closing branch offices as early as next month.
" If federal public defenders are not available, courts must pay private lawyers who cost more to do the job."
More details on the judicial impact here.