WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Trumbull County Commissioners will soon have to decide how to proceed with legal council for defendants who can’t afford it.
Currently, the Ohio Public Defender’s Office serves indigent defendants in the county’s six municipal courts with eight staff members and 13 contractors, while court-appointed attorneys provide representation for common pleas court, juvenile court, and in the court of appeals.
Representatives with the Ohio Public Defender’s Office met with commissioners at their workshop Tuesday. They proposed either sticking with the model already in place or move to full representation by the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, which will include adding six staff members.
Assistant Director Elizabeth Miller says that should the legislature pass Gov. Mike DeWine’s 96% reimbursement proposal in the budget bill, the second option would only cost the county $82,500.
“It is an amazing deal because our office provides so much assistance and support from human resources. From a tech perspective, we have our own case management system as well as training and supervision. We truly believe the county would be best served if they chose option B,” Miller said.
The county’s current contract with the Ohio Public Defender’s Office expires at the end of June.