Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

House overide's Sanford's 'Indigent' veto.

Yesterday the House overrode several vetoes by Governor Sanford of the State Budget. Conservative advocacy groups have begun railing against the Houses 'wasteful' spending but a few of the overturned vetoes are noteworthy because they don't represent restoration of pork, but legitimate funding to appropriate Government agencies. I'm talk about the funding for Children's Health care and Indigent Defense.

According to the Charleston P&C "Thousands of South Carolina children in low-income homes still are in line to get health care after the House on Tuesday overrode Gov. Mark Sanford's veto of a state-federal Medicaid program expansion.
Parents of at least 2,000 children applied for coverage under an expansion that became available in the past few weeks. Sanford's veto left in doubt the $21.3 million set aside to cover them and 86,000 other children."

Along with the children though comes funding for one program that is already woefully underfunded and that is indigent defense. Monday the State Newspaper ran an article about Chief Justice Toal pleading Sanford not to veto the indigent defense spending. The article notes about the lack of parity of spending in South Carolina:
Before Sanford’s vetoes, the Commission on Indigent Defense already was seeing its base budget drop by a third to $8.6 million in the Legislature’s budget. Meanwhile, the base budgets of the Attorney General’s office and the state Prosecution Coordination Council — the two agencies chiefly in charge of prosecutions — were cut by 6 percent, to $23 million.

Chief Justice Toal made her appeal based on the already overflowing dockets and the additional cost burdens associated with jailing defendants awaiting trial, as well as increase the likelihood of appeals, costs that the State would have to absorb. To underscore that point the article quoted statistics from the Indigent Defense Commission in SC.
The state’s Commission on Indigent Defense says 80 percent of the 125,000 cases handled in general sessions court involved public defenders — and that doesn’t include the cases handled in magistrate courts.

One potential outcome not discussed but which some attorneys have mentioned is the increase in court appointments. In other words if there is no Public Defender, or if the program becomes overburdened then the court will have to appoint private attorneys to cases. This could have an adverse effect on the economics of law, which may have ultimately inspired many legislators to push to override this veto.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: