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Justices OK new state legal offices for poor defendants

Five regional legal offices the state has created to represent poor defendants in special circumstances can stay open, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday [March 13]. The justices reversed a judge’s ruling that the offices, which opened their doors in January, were unconstitutional because they are headed by appointed rather than elected officials. The offices handle cases public defenders cannot take for reasons that include conflicts of interest that often occur when more than one defendant is charged with the same crime. Those cases previously had been assigned to private lawyers, but the new offices are expected to do the same job at a savings of about $55 million the first year.

-We’ll have to wait and see on this one….

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