Ky. Public Defenders Seek More State Funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A Franklin Circuit Court judge will hear arguments Monday on whether the state must give more money to public defenders, who say they will be broke by April.

Department of Public Advocacy chief Ed Monahanhas has said the agency needs $4.7 million to continue functioning until the 2009-10 budget takes effect July 1.

Without it, the agency will have to stop representing clients when appointed by the courts.

Public Advocacy filed a lawsuit in June saying it could not meet its constitutional obligation to represent poor criminal defendants under its current budget.

Lawmakers cut the agency's budget by $2.3 million to $37.8 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

The agency scaled back its operations and refused certain types of cases to stretch its funding. But in September, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled that the agency could not refuse to take cases and its reductions were premature.

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