State funding boosts Juab County’s public defender office

State funding boosts Juab County’s public defender office

NEPHI, Utah (AP) — A recent report found that an influx of state funding to bolster county public defenders offices has transformed what used to be a one-man operation in sparsely populated Juab County to help people who can’t afford private attorneys get better legal representation.

The Deseret News reports that $142,000 from the state in 2017 tripled the staffing in the office and increased the budget for appeals. A report by the Utah Indigent Defense Commission found that attorneys have more time to spend with clients and defendants aren’t rushed into taking plea deals as often.

In the previous four decades, most people who couldn’t afford attorneys were represented by the one attorney in the office, Milton Harmon, who retired in 2016 at the age of 81.