May 29, 2008

KY: short-change DPA now, pay later

Seems to be a lot of legislative false economizing going on nationwide. From

Chief public defender takes case to judges - asks state to pay for private lawyers for defendants

The state's chief public defender is asking judges to order the state... to pay for private lawyers for some poor criminal defendants because his agency can no longer afford to represent them.

In a letter to judges released Wednesday (pdf file), public advocate Ernie Lewis warned that public defenders will begin refusing certain types of cases starting July 1 as a result of the $2.3 million budget cut approved this spring by the General Assembly. Lewis said the Department of Public Advocacy cannot afford to fill about 40 vacancies. With caseloads already at unethically high levels, Lewis said, public defenders cannot take on additional cases...