Ohio group considers changes to defending the poor


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- An Ohio working group considering changes in how defense lawyers are provided for the poor has drafted a proposal that would shift the financial responsibility from counties to the state.

State Public Defender Tim Young tells The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/ybA5KX ) counties still could decide exactly how they provide such lawyers. The options include using a county public defender's office or court-appointed lawyers.

The plan has not yet been given to the Legislature.

Under a decades-old system, counties arrange and pay for lawyers for indigent defendants and are partially reimbursed by the state. Counties were reimbursed at a rate of about 35 percent last year.

The working group's proposal would put the financial burden on the state and have the public defender's office oversee the system.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com