skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Data show home-ownership disparities in North Dakota; Trump reaped over $100 million through fraud, New York says as trial starts; Volunteer water monitors: citizen scientists.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Donald Trump's civil trial in New York is underway, House Republicans are divided on whether to oust Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, and Latino voter groups are hoping to see mass turnout in the next election.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A small fire department in rural Indiana is determined not to fail new moms and babies, the growing election denial movement has caused voting districts to change procedures and autumn promises spectacular scenery along America's rural byways.

New Bill Would Fund PA's Ailing Public Defender System

play audio
Play

Monday, September 26, 2022   

A new bill in Pennsylvania would provide money for public defenders, who say they're struggling to take on the cases of people charged with crimes who can't afford an attorney.

Senate Bill 1317 would create the Indigent Defense Advisory Committee, and a Grant Fund to provide state-level funding for the public defender system. Currently, the counties kick in to provide this funding, while state dollars go to the state prosecutors.

Sara Jacobson, executive director of the Public Defenders Association of Pennsylvania, outlined why this potential change has taken so long to come to fruition.

"It's some combination of a lack of political will and the amount of money it will take to fund indigent defense adequately," said Jacobson. "It's kind of easy to say, 'Oh well, the counties should take care of that,' and then consider it a problem solved, I guess. I'm glad that our legislators are taking a look at this now."

According to a 2021 report from the state's Legislative Budget and Finance Office, Cameron County spent just over $35,000 on indigent defense in 2020 - a county with a rate of 1,600 crimes per 100,000 residents.

The bill has passed out of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, but Jacobson said it faces an uphill battle in the General Assembly.

The current system has caused the Luzerne County public defenders to stop taking new cases because of a lack of funding. And Jacobson said this is the second time in a decade that budget deficiencies have caused this to happen.

She said she feels the current method of funding public defense is failing the people who need it most.

"Public defenders in Pennsylvania have more cases, more clients, than they can handle," said Jacobson. "This is a job that's required by the Constitution. The Constitution says that the government must provide assistance, and effective assistance of counsel, in criminal cases - and Pennsylvania is falling short."

Pennsylvania is one of only two states where the state doesn't help fund indigent defense. Jacobson said changing the system would allow public defenders to do their jobs more effectively.





get more stories like this via email
more stories
Solar development has grown throughout New York City over the last decade. By summer 2022, 350 megawatts were installed, enough to power 90,000 households in New York City. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

A recently signed law expands New York City's solar property tax abatement. This four year tax abatement allows for the construction of solar …


Health and Wellness

play sound

Advocates for mental health in Maine say the stigma of suicide often prevents those most at risk from getting the help they need. The CDC reports …

play sound

Cannabis is an emerging science in which students can make new discoveries and contributions. Wayne State University in Michigan has introduced an …


If FEMA can't carry out its nationwide emergency alert test on the planned date of Wednesday, a backup date of Oct. 11 will be utilized. (Photo courtesy of FEMA)

Environment

play sound

Cell phones around Wisconsin and the rest of the country will be buzzing this Wednesday afternoon for a test of the federal Emergency Alert System and…

Social Issues

play sound

As the U.S. navigates a prolonged housing crisis, a North Dakota organization is highlighting data showing significant homeownership disparities…

Water Quality standards mandated by the federal Clean Water Act are designed to cap the amount of pollution entering West Virginia waters from industrial facilities, wastewater treatment plants, storm sewers, and other sources. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Volunteer water monitoring is gaining popularity in West Virginia, and could help assess the impact on regional water quality of projects like the …

Health and Wellness

play sound

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and one Nevada father is speaking out after his special-needs son endured a traumatic incident…

Health and Wellness

play sound

Data from last year show a growing percentage of Kentucky children and teens report struggling with depression or anxiety, largely driven by social …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021