Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pennsylvania Public Defender System Under Attack

The Pennsylvania public defender system has been a failure for years. 
As of now, Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that does not provide funding to public defenders, according to a study released in December. By not providing the funding, Pennsylvania is ignoring a 49-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling saying states are obligated to provide those services under the Constitution.
Victor Scomillio, president of the Northampton County Bar Association, said the bar's decision to endorse the resolution is not a knock on the county's public defender's office, but an effort to equalize defense across the state.
In Luzerne County, for example, the chief public defender filed a lawsuit against the county earlier this year, saying county leaders were under-budgeting his office to the point it cannot meet constitutional standards.


- John