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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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District Court pilot program aims to speed turnaround time of court cases


www.thepractice.in

Caroline MacGregor
February 18, 2014 | WGVU   Kent County commissioners plan to use a $33 thousand state grant to fund a pilot project to increase the number of court appointed attorneys for low income or indigent misdemeanor defendants at their first court appearance.

The idea is to see if early intervention would help cut down on court appearances and save money. As it stands, the court allows counsel only after the defendant’s first appearance.

Kevin McKay, Administrator for Kent County's 63rd district Court, says meeting with a Public Defender before arraignments could help eliminate future hearings, save taxpayers money, and free up staff to attend to other matters.

 “might resolve it sooner”

The program is scheduled to start in March. An attorney will be available for an extra half day each week for misdemeanor arraignments and to provide counsel 7 days a week to defendants being arraigned by video.

The program will be re-evaluated in September with cases tracked to see if it proves more efficient than the current system.

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