Pennsylvania High Court Expands Right to Sue Counties over Public Defenders
Date:  10-05-2016

Defendants claim funding for criminal defense cases is not adequate to provide proper representation
By Marc Levy of The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania's highest court will allow criminal defendants to sue a county in an effort to prove a public defender's office isn't adequately funded to provide the constitutional right to an attorney, a victory for civil rights lawyers.

The state Supreme Court's unanimous ruling late Wednesday overturned a lower appellate court decision.

Mary Catherine Roper, the deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said Thursday that, while the ruling is a victory, it is not a final victory for the plaintiffs — two criminal defendants — in the lawsuit against Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Those two plaintiffs, Adam Kuren and Steven Allabaugh, have since been convicted or pleaded guilty. Read the complete articlea here.

Read the Court’s opinion here.