Friday, December 19, 2003

Yellowstone County Commissioner Jim Reno wants to discuss turning over the county's troubled Public Defender's Office to state jurisdiction. He writes: "From my vantage point, I see many reasons to transfer the obligation to the State of Montana: 1. There may be a savings to Yellowstone County taxpayers. As we have come to know only so well, the state chooses not to reimburse Yellowstone County for all costs associated with running the department. 2. Most counties no longer provide this service. To my knowledge there are less than 6 counties (and the number is decreasing) that still have PDO as a county responsibility. 3. State assumption of the PDO will help insure a more uniform indigent defendants system across the state. 4. More involvement with the private attorneys. In most parts of the state, private attorneys provide indigent defense via contracts with the State."

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