Monday, June 26, 2006

South Carolina public defenders prepare for more cases

From the Times and Democrat:

Public defenders across South Carolina are preparing to get a number of new cases after the state increased penalties for domestic violence and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled more defendants have a right to an attorney.

The high court ruling in an Alabama case likely means any defendant facing jail time, even as little as 30 days, is entitled to a lawyer, said T. Patton Adams, executive director of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense.That could mean public defenders would have to serve all indigent defendants even in magistrate's court, Adams said.

The state's tougher domestic violence laws, which increase jail time and fines, also will mean more defendants will have the right to a lawyer.

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