ACLU to End Suit over Pennsylvania Public Defender Funding

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania says it’s dropping a long-running lawsuit against Luzerne County over lack of funding of the public defender’s office.

The 2012 suit contended that inadequate funding of the public defender’s office had deprived poor defendants of their right to taxpayer-funded counsel. One of the plaintiffs was Luzerne County’s chief public defender, Al Flora Jr., who said his office had been saddled with unreasonable caseloads.

The case resulted in a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that makes it easier for indigent criminal defendants to sue a county over claims of inadequate funding for public defenders. The ruling was not a final victory for the plaintiffs suing Luzerne County.

The ACLU said Wednesday that Luzerne County’s defender office “is a different place than it was in 2012,” boosting staff and making other improvements.

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