SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- As of September 2012, public defenders in Washington can have no more than 400 misdemeanor cases. Sunnyside's two public defenders have already exceeded that limit this year. So, the only options are to hire more attorneys and/or reduce the number of cases requiring appointed counsel.
"We are barred to go past our 400 case load limit so you're simply just going to have to go find someone out there that's willing to take the case and go into court for whatever fee and its going to be a heavy burden on the cities," said Sunnyside Public Defender Douglas Garrison.
The changes mean that rental violations, fireworks offenses, unnecessary noise and disorderly conduct will all become civil infractions. Those will result in nothing more than a fine if you are caught.