Someone suggested that the Public Defenders (DPA) is one of the fastest growing agencies in state government. Their numbers and sources of income seemed, they said, is growing and growing. I wonder, has evaluated the numbers to determine whether it is the fastest growing state agency?
One thing I do know is that DPA attorneys and their ally, the Kentucky Criminal Defense Lawyers, frequently dominate every hearing of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committees on matters pertaining to criminal law. And why shouldn’t they. There are a number of criminal defense attorneys on the Judiciary Committees in both the house and the Senate who seem to be a willing audience.
The Public Advocate and one or two other DPA attorneys can usually be seen around the Capital Annex whenever Legislative Committees are meeting. Some States have laws that impose express limits on what public defenders may do, especially when it comes to lobbying through their offices, but Kentucky has none.
My experience is that DPA attorneys routinely oppose any attempt to enforce the legal requirement that defendants WHO CAN AFFORD IT be required to pay at least some part of the cost of public defender representation. Guess who is responsible for enforcing that requirement. You guessed it, none other than the DPA. If Public Defenders are representing defendants who are not indigent then the Courts be be more vigilant in determining the ability of defendants to pay.
I wonder how to determine if the suggestion that DPA is the fastest growing agency in government is true?