I hear it from my readers, again and again, how retained private attorneys screw them out of the money for experts and investigators which defendants could have obtained FOR FREE as indigents/poor persons.
It is invariably done out of greed combined with laziness - often when a private attorney charges a huge "lump sum" for "everything" including the criminal trial, pressures the indigent defendant's family to pay for hiring the supposedly necessary forensic experts - and then does not hire the experts and pressures the defendant into a plea bargain, keeping the money for the experts and for the trial.
Yet, the law very clearly says in New York that a criminal defendant does not stop being an indigent just because a 3rd party (the adult defendant's extended family) hires a private counsel for him.
And, there is a statute, County Law 722-c allowing an indigent criminal defendant to hire experts and investigators for the trial at taxpayer's expense;
"722-c. Services other than counsel. Upon a finding in an ex parte
Moreover, a motion for expert fees under County Law 722-c is allowed to be made, argued and granted on an EX PARTE (without notice to prosecutors) basis. When such a motion is made, the judge has absolutely no right to disclose to the prosecution that an expert is being sought at taxpayers' expense by the defense, and if he does, it is judicial misconduct entitling the defendant to make a motion to remove the judge from the case (recuse).
Even though the law restricts the amount to $1000 in the absence of "extraordinary circumstances", the statute does not restrict the defense counsel from claiming that the prosecution's use of an expert whose fee far exceeds $1000 does constitute extraordinary circumstances entitling the criminal defendant to an expert of the same quality (and with the same level of fees), as a matter of equal protection of laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Of course, such a motion may irritate the judge and the prosecution and certainly will not allow the defense attorney to sock away fees paid by the anxious family for experts, but retained for attorney's private use.
But - such a tool does exist in New York state law.