Judge pushes for full-time public defender office

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A southern Indiana judge says his county needs a full-time public defender office to ensure those who can't afford attorneys receive strong legal representation.

The Tribune in Seymour reports Jackson Circuit Judge Richard Poynter moved to a contract system using four public defenders this month. The new system allows higher pay for attorneys handing more serious offenses.

The county previously used 13 to 14 attorneys.

Poynter hopes to have a full-time office in place by the end of next year. He says he plans to discuss the issue with the county's other two judges after the Nov. 4 election.

Currently, 54 of Indiana's 92 counties have public defender offices. The defender offices can receive reimbursements from the state of up to 40 percent.

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