J.P. Morgan loan will provide attorney pay

    The majority of Philadelphia’s vendors will be getting paid thanks to a loan from J.P. Morgan Chase. One group of vendors includes private criminal defense attorneys who take court-appointed cases. Court officials are concerned that without those attorneys, the court system could face an impending backlog.

    The majority of Philadelphia’s vendors will be getting paid thanks to a loan from J.P. Morgan Chase. One group of vendors includes private criminal defense attorneys who take court-appointed cases. Court officials are concerned that without those attorneys, the court system could face an impending backlog.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090903splawyer.mp3]

    Private court appointed attorneys take the cases that the public defenders office can’t take because of conflicts of interest. But those attorneys have recently started to remove themselves from the list. President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Pamela Dembe, says she’s worried the courts will get backed up.

    Dembe: The worst case scenario is we have people sitting in jail who shouldn’t be in jail and witnesses become discouraged and stop participating. Speedy trial rules have a real reason for existing.

    Dembe says the attorneys have not been able to properly prepare for cases because they can’t pay investigators or psychologists.

    The Mayor’s office says they will make good on $200 million dollars worth of bills, using a first-come first served basis. But there is no word on when vendors will get paid going forward.

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