Judge Rules Ky. Public Defenders Can't Slow Caseload

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A Franklin County circuit judge has blocked an attempt by Kentucky public defenders to stop taking certain cases amid tight budget cuts.

Judge Thomas Wingate has issued a temporary injunction blocking the plan.

The Department of Public Advocacy has asked permission from court to implement a service reduction plan that would allow the agency to stop representing certain indigent clients. Such cases involve parole violation matters, involuntary commitments and some misdemeanors.

According to Wingate's ruling, the agency is not scheduled to run out of money until mid-2009, but has already started rejecting some cases.

Lawmakers cut funding for the agency by $2.3 million over the next two years. That leaves the agency with a $37.8 million budget.

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