Criminal Justice

Public Defender Study

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October 25, 2016

By: Barbara Brosher, IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS -A study released this week by a public defense advocacy group says Indiana’s public defender system fails to provide adequate representation. The study details what it says is an underfunded and often unchecked system.

According to the report, Indiana isn’t meeting its constitutional obligation to provide effective representation in misdemeanor, felony and juvenile cases.

The study found many counties avoid oversight from the Indiana Public Defenders Commission by forgoing state reimbursement for some public defense cases.

It also points to inadequate funding and training as problems plaguing the system.Indianapolis Attorney Jon Little filed a lawsuit on behalf of several Johnson County inmates last year making many of the same claims. He says Indiana’s public defense system needs a major overhaul.

“There needs to be monitoring on the caseloads, there needs to be training, there needs to be accountability,” said Little.

The report makes five recommendations for improving Indiana’s system, including creating a statewide appellate defender office as a check against inadequate representation.

 

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