Tuesday, May 14, 2013

WAVE 3 - Taxpayers face rising costs for public defenders

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - What's the price of justice? In Louisville taxpayers are spending millions of dollars a year defending accused criminals who can't afford an attorney. In fact an increasing number of accused criminals are getting a free defense. One that can be very effective.

Innocent until proven guilty. And a country willing to pay to get you off the hook.

"One of our highest values is that the right to council is essential if the state wants to prosecute somebody," said Ed Monahan,  chief administrator for the Kentucky Department for Public Advocacy, the agency that oversees the state's public defenders.

In 1963 the Supreme Court unanimously ruled states had to fund free legal counsel for criminal defendants who couldn't afford it. 50 years later, the public defender system in Kentucky is a statewide network of attorneys, investigators and advocates that cost taxpayers $41,500,000 a year.

In 2011, it was public defenders who successfully fought to have Kerry Porter's murder conviction overturned. In 2012, public defenders worked cases for more than 185,000 of Kentucky's accused.
complete article and video