Council’s public safety committee recommended Wednesday the town pay for public defenders on a case-by-case basis, but it left unanswered how much it would pay for each case.
Councilman Bill McIntosh said there’s a glut of young, eager lawyers in the Charleston area who want trial experience and would probably volunteer to defend indigent clients for a reduced fee.
That fee would be somewhere south of $1,000, he said, but whether it might be $500 or $250 he wasn’t sure.
After First Circuit Public Defender Mark Leiendecker made a presentation to council saying the town should have a public defender in its municipal court to comply with U.S. Supreme Court rulings, Town Council asked the county to pay for a public defender.
The county refused, leaving the town to decide what to do next.
Councilman Walter Bailey said Summerville has three choices: do nothing, hire a public defender, or pay attorneys on a case-by-case basis.
Doing nothing isn’t really an option, Bailey and McIntosh said, because the town could be sued if someone were to ask for a public defender and be refused because the town doesn’t have one.
McIntosh said he doubts that’s ever happened. Nonetheless, no one seems to have a good idea of how often a public defender would be required, he said.
“If it’s not that frequent, the last thing we should do is pay half of someone’s salary and benefits,” he said.
Bailey said conducting a trial for six months would give the town an idea of how often the public defender is needed.
" />

Town considers public defender

  • Thursday, February 7, 2013

The issue of whether to pay for a public defender will go to the full Summerville Town Council next week.
Council’s public safety committee recommended Wednesday the town pay for public defenders on a case-by-case basis, but it left unanswered how much it would pay for each case.
Councilman Bill McIntosh said there’s a glut of young, eager lawyers in the Charleston area who want trial experience and would probably volunteer to defend indigent clients for a reduced fee.
That fee would be somewhere south of $1,000, he said, but whether it might be $500 or $250 he wasn’t sure.
After First Circuit Public Defender Mark Leiendecker made a presentation to council saying the town should have a public defender in its municipal court to comply with U.S. Supreme Court rulings, Town Council asked the county to pay for a public defender.
The county refused, leaving the town to decide what to do next.
Councilman Walter Bailey said Summerville has three choices: do nothing, hire a public defender, or pay attorneys on a case-by-case basis.
Doing nothing isn’t really an option, Bailey and McIntosh said, because the town could be sued if someone were to ask for a public defender and be refused because the town doesn’t have one.
McIntosh said he doubts that’s ever happened. Nonetheless, no one seems to have a good idea of how often a public defender would be required, he said.
“If it’s not that frequent, the last thing we should do is pay half of someone’s salary and benefits,” he said.
Bailey said conducting a trial for six months would give the town an idea of how often the public defender is needed.

Comments

Notice about comments:

Summerville Journal Scene is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. We do not edit user submitted statements and we cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not Summerville Journal Scene.

If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Read our full terms and conditions.

Upcoming Events
Poll
 Latest News
Print Ads
Latest Videos


Summerville Journal Scene

© 2014 Summerville Journal Scene an Evening Post Industries company. All Rights Reserved.

Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Parental Consent Form.