New bill helps poor defendants - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New bill helps poor defendants

February 18, 2003

Albany- The State Senate passed a bill replacing 159 county legal systems with 49 circuit public defenders. They'd be governed by a 15-member appointed board.

Attorney John Vansant is part of the Dougherty County indigent defense program and says the bill is long overdue. "It's gonna bring a uniform system for indigent representation throughout the state. Heretofore its been a real hodge-podge," explains Vansant.

The state-managed public defender system would replace an assortment of programs now run by counties that have a hard time coming up with the money.

Vansant says the only problem he has with the bill is that the governing board would be appointed and not elected.

Posted at 9:05 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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