Ky. Agency Asks Court to Bar PDs from Withdrawing from Cases
A Kentucky agency is seeking an injunction to stop the cash-strapped public defenders office from withdrawing from some kinds of cases.
The legal move comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the public defender agency, the Department of Public Advocacy, the Kentucky Herald-Leader reports. The suit contends the state has not provided enough money to fulfill its constitutional mandate to provide lawyers for poor criminal defendants.
The state Finance & Administration Cabinet cites estimates that the Department of Public Advocacy won’t run out of money until February or March of next year and says that timeline gives legislators ample time to fix the problem.
Public Advocate Ernie Lewis counters that he has to act now before his office runs out of money. “I am trying to manage our way out of a severe budget crisis,” he told the Herald-Leader.
The finance agency’s response to the suit contends the Department of Public Advocacy allocates resources inefficiently and fails to ask defendants to pay partial fees when they can afford it.