FARMINGTON, Maine — Two defense lawyers in Franklin County have announced they no longer will take on state-appointed sexual assault cases, in a protest against the state’s compensation rate for public defenders.

In a March 6 letter to the Franklin County Courts, Walter Hanstein of Farmington and David Sanders of Livermore Falls said the $50-per-hour rate for defending indigent clients accused of sexual assault is no longer sufficient to cover the expense of running a busy law office.

“We do this with a great deal of regret, because for more than 25 years, we have each regularly accepted such appointments — even though every time we handled one, it kept us from spending time on our far-better-paying retained legal matters,” Hanstein and Sanders wrote.

For more on this story, visit