Ohio counties vary in providing defense for poor - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Ohio counties vary in providing defense for poor

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ways of providing lawyers for criminal defendants who can't afford to pay attorneys vary widely across the state in terms of cost, efficiency and quality, according to public defenders.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that some public defenders say the differences are contrary to the spirit of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling five decades ago that said criminal defendants must be provided with a lawyer if they can't afford one.

A state public defender says about 70% of all Ohio defendants who face charges that could send them to jail qualify as indigent. The newspaper reports that 30 counties have public defender's offices to serve those people. The rest appoint private lawyers or contract with the state public defender's office or with another nonprofit agency.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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