Public defender asks for more staff amid caseload jump

Everyone deserves the right to an attorney — even if they can't afford one.
Andy Ouriel
Feb 9, 2013


So what happens when too many people trigger the democratic privilege? Erie County public defender Jeff Whitacre unfortunately knows all too well.

The demanding workload burdens his staff and completely exhausts funds provided to the office by the county.

To remedy the situation amid a skyrocketing caseload, Whitacre asked commissioners for an additional $108,000. He wants one full-time paralegal and one full-time assistant public defender to work alongside his current eight-member staff.

For more on the increased case load at the public defender's office and what duties the office handles, pick up a copy of Saturday's Register.



Why do we have skyrocketing caseloads? More crime? Repeat offenders? A revolving door court system?

The taxpaying public gets to pay for the prosecution and defense of most criminals. We are obligated to provide a defense only. Which is based on the money the taxpaying public decides to provide. No new money.

My suggestions to the criminals.... commit your crime in another county for a better defense.


No problem. Just take it out of the casino money coming in or start collelcting the overdue property tax that the county has not collected for years.


After reading the full article in today's paper, It is clear that Mr. Whitacre and his staff have their hands full and need additional help.

Baba Booey

"Everyone deserves the right to an attorney." That's what the constitution say's. Since when do we listen to the constitution.



I don't agree. Mr. Whitacre's clients are provided an attorney. No one said they were entitled to a great defense. Guess the public defender staff will have to prioritize their clients. My suggestion is that repeat offenders get the short end of the stick.


Taxpayers again like many things are getting hammered with increasing costs and this is yet another burden on us. Don't see any alternative around it. Many of these people who are being defended have been a burden on society all their lives. That has gone from special programs in schools for this or that deficiency. Once we convict them what do we have but costs of putting them into a state prison system. Again, the law abiding taxpayer gets the short end of the stick.

Swamp Fox

They can't afford an attorney but they seem to be able to afford the booze and drugs that causes them to need the lawyer.

Julie R.

What gets me about the murder cases in Erie County are the ones like Randleman and Clinton. In the words of Nancy Grace:

"One of the most disturbing facts about many murder cases is that the perpetrator is often a repeat offender. The Manhattan Institute reported that the average prison terms of murderers released in 1992 was only 5.9 years. While the victim is sentenced to death, murderers are released after just 6 years, free to prey on the innocent --- and free to kill again. I have enough common sense to know that some people will never be rehabilitated. Some people are just so evil, so uncaring, that they will forever pose a threat. I have learned that there is no such thing as locking killers up and throwing away the key. Who knows what an ever-changing parole board may decide in the future? One thing about the Grim Reaper --- he doesn't grant parole."


I wouldn't rely on Nancy Grace for any credible information. She was disciplined three times by the Georgia Supreme Court and threatened with disbarment which is why she is on TV instead of practicing law.

Julie R.

Most of her "credible information" comes from good old-fashion common ordinary sense.


Listen there all guiltily anyhow when they walk in the door you know it and I know it let's get real.....