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Central Idaho county exploring public defense options

Blaine County commissioners say they are contemplating establishing an in-house office to provide representation for poor people caught in the criminal justice system.

The discussion comes at a time when Idaho is facing a class-action lawsuit over allegations the state’s public defense system is faulty and violates the 6th Amendment rights of its citizens.

Commissioner Jacob Greenberg said April 19 that there’s no guarantee that the county’s existing system will survive the legal challenge and that the county should be ready to adapt whichever way the ruling comes down.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports the central Idaho county contracts with seven lawyers who provide public defense to indigent defendants on a monthly rotation.

The commissioners didn’t make a decision at a meeting April 19, but plan on exploring possible costs to creating the public defense office.


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