Judge Dean Colvin explained that the shortfall in the budget is due to a contract with the public defenders.
“In regards to the contract that we have with our current public defenders and the request we made in 2013 to cover 2014 expenses in the additional increase in pay that we provided when we reorganized in the public defenders fund, we have now come to a point where we are in a shortfall. It’s primarily due to that new contract.”
The council also had cut funds from the budget when making final decisions in regards to the 2014 budget, according to Judge Colvin.
He added that there has been an increase in the need for public defenders and some cases have required additional legal assistance.
“We’ve had an additional increase in the number of individuals that we had to utilize as public defenders. There’s been a couple of civic cases where I’ve had to appoint attorneys for individuals who could not represent themselves adequately. The other aspect of this request also anticipates an additional increase in public defender expenditures for this year for a special case where I’ve had to appoint two attorneys to one defendant to handle the case. They’re all outside the contract of my current public defender fund.”
Councilman Rex Gilliland expressed that Judge Colvin puts a defendant under a rigorous barrage of questions before making a decision to appoint a public defender to a defendant.
The council members are cognizant of the need to provide these services and approved Judge Colvin’s $30,000 request.