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State Audit Examines Public Defender’s Office

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — An audit has found the state’s public defender has not been thorough enough to determine financial eligibility of clients requesting a public defender.

The audit, which was released Tuesday by state auditors, says the office’s policies did not require applicants to provide supporting documentation to determine the applicant’s ability to pay for legal representation. The audit also found eligibility was not always properly supported and subject to supervisory review.

The public defender’s office responded that it is updating policies to support documentation for expenses and incomes of people who request a public defender. The office also says a May 2010 Court of Appeals decision has had a significant impact on the office’s intake process.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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