A public defender shortage in the Hampden County court system is being addressed.
The Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services began offering a temporary emergency rate more than eight times the normal rate earlier this month for private lawyers willing to provide coverage.
The public defender agency previously filed a petition with the Supreme Judicial Court to overturn a Springfield judge's order for it to keep providing attorneys, even though the committee said it was overburdened.
The SJC overturned the judge's order.
The lawyers have been concerned about low pay for years.