Prosecuting All the Way to the Bank: How does your Prosecutor get Paid?

September 05, 2016

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

Occasionally you will see news articles (like this one posted by the Chicago Tribune: describing turnover rates for deputy prosecuting attorneys at county prosecutor’s offices due to issues like high cases loads, long hours, and insufficient pay. Those articles usually cite statistics regarding how many cases a deputy prosecuting attorney is required to handle and what the average starting salary is for new attorneys. What the articles usually do not mention is how prosecutors get paid and who determines their salary.

Generally, a prosecutor’s salary may come from either the State, pursuant to Indiana Code § 33-39-6 et seq., or from a budget allotted by each county’s county council. Indiana Code § 33-39-6-5 allows for the State of Indiana to pay for some prosecutor’s salaries. Specifically, the minimum salary of a full-time elected prosecutor is required to be the same as the minimum salary of a circuit court judge in the same circuit. Because elected prosecutors are paid by the State of Indiana, their salaries are public record and can be looked up at this website: Indiana Code § 33-39-6-2 allows for that elected prosecutor to appoint one chief deputy prosecutor, who is to be paid a salary of 75% of the elected prosecuting attorney’s salary by the State. Further, that code section allows the elected prosecutor to appoint one or more deputy prosecuting attorneys, who are paid by the State, based on whether that county has an Indiana Department of Correction facility and what size that facility may be. Also, Cass County has been singled out by the legislature, which has granted that county an additional State-paid deputy prosecuting attorney without the requirement of having an IDOC facility.

All other deputy prosecuting attorneys are generally paid by county governments through their budgets. As a result, the salary of deputy prosecuting attorneys can vary by county and based on the individual’s experience. Most interestingly, because they are paid by public funds, the salaries of public employees, like prosecuting attorneys, are public record and can generally be found online. However, before reviewing a county’s public salary records, you should consider reviewing this document to better understand what the numbers posted mean: Here are the results from a quick review of Cass County and Wayne County public employee salaries:

Looking for an attorney that does not just see you as a paycheck? Contact us today if you have questions or believe your constitutional or criminal rights have been violated. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individualized case. Act now and contact us today at (317) 857-0160.