Supervisor calls for due diligence when it comes to public defenders

NORWICH – Whether it’s the social services department or public defender’s office, some entity should investigate a client’s ability to pay for his or her own defense before assigning them a lawyer at taxpayers’ expense.

So said Town of Plymouth Supervisor Jerry Kreiner at a meeting of the Chenango County Board of Supervisors last week. The Plymouth supervisor was reacting to a resolution to supplement the Chenango County Public Defender’s budget for assigned counsel expenses.

“There’s not a whole lot of due diligence that goes into investigating the financial status of those applying for public defense,” he said, indicating – as he has to his committee and the board in the past – that clients do not divulge their assets on applications for public defense and could either be on social services or working off the books.

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