Public defender may leave county
Ryan Summerlin December 19, 2012
Like many Summit County departments, the Attorney’s Office has been requesting more funding for their increasing workload. Without the additional funding, the county may be losing one of its public defenders.
Renewal of the county attorneys’ contracts is pending the finalization of the county’s budget.
In addition to his public defense responsibilities, Summit County Defense Attorney Paul Quinlan has been donating his time to the new county drug court program.
"With the exception of one person, everybody wants back," County Attorney David Brickey said. "But Paul Quinlan has donated an entire year to drug court with no compensation. And he has said, ‘A year is about all I can do. If I can’t get compensated for next year, you’ll have to find a new defense attorney.’"
Brickey said he can understand why Quinlan wouldn’t want to continue doing drug court without compensation.
"What Paul has made known to everyone is that he wants compensation and he’s not asking for a lot," Brickey said. "So right now, he’s not coming back at all because a contract hasn’t been offered. He’s a little frustrated. We all are."
Summit County Manager Bob Jasper said he and the county staff have recommended additional money be budgeted for both the county prosecutors and defenders.
"They haven’t had a raise in four years and we’ve added a lot of workload to them because caseloads have gone up, so they are doing a lot more for less. We have reached a point where we don’t think it’s fair," he said.
Jasper said he hasn’t heard anything about losing public defenders because of funding, particularly as it relates to the drug court, but said that they can’t keep adding more work to their contracts without giving them more money.
"So we’ve added more money for them to the budget," Jasper said, referring to the county’s two public defenders, Quinlan and David Shapiro, and two conflict council public defenders, Sophia Moore and Asa Kelly, who assist Quinlan and Shapiro when needed.
The County Council will be discussing the proposed 2013 budget during a work session Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Summit County Courthouse, located at 60 North Main Street in Coalville.
They will then vote on the budget and possible tax increase following a Truth in Taxation public hearing at 6 p.m. that evening.
Quinlan did not return a phone call by Tuesday.