Public defender, DA both ask for more money in Philly

Philadelphia’s Public Defender office is threatening to cut back unless it receives more funding from the city. 

Chief Public Defender Ellen Greenlee says the mayor’s proposed budget gives the Defender Association the same money for the fiscal year beginning July first that it has this year.  Greenlee says that’s unacceptable and without new money for almost two dozen new attorneys the office cannot continue.

“If this request is rejected as it has been by the administration up to today the association will begin to scale back courtroom coverage and representation to a level that meets the capacity of our current staff,” said Greenlee.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams also is asking to add prosecutors.

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“I’m asking for an increase of $636,000.  I would use that money to hire 13 Assistant District Attorneys at our base salary or $48 975,” said Williams.

Members of city council would not commit to granting either request, citing a tight budget.

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