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Maine Indigent Legal Defense Fund Short of Cash
12/10/2013 03:50 PM ET  

Members of the commission that manages the fund say criminal cases are up, putting a strain on the fund's tight resources.

The state commission that manages the legal costs of indigent defendants in Maine's courts says it's running out of money.

Executive Director John Pelletier told members of the panel the reason is an increase in cases. He says criminal cases are up.

"In the middle six months of the year they increased 15 percent over what they had seen in the first quarter of the year," Pelletier said. "Child Protective showed a similar increase - the second quarter over first quarter was about 7 percent."

The commission voted to request a supplemental appropriation from the Legislature when it re-convenes next month. Panel members fear the demands on court-appointed lawyers will continue to increase as the budget year continues.

This story was reported and written by Mal Leary.


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