Four public defender overseers suddenly resign

Four public defender overseers suddenly resign
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 7:56 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 25, 2023 at 8:01 AM EDT
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(WFSB) - Four members of the commission that oversees CT’s Public Defender office suddenly resigned this week.

It’s been less than one year since the appointment of Chief Public Defender Tashun Bowden-Lewis.

The public defenders’ office provides state-funded defense attorneys for those who can’t afford an attorney themselves in the state criminal courts.

In her resignation letter, Chairman Allison Near said she was having difficulty balancing the work from her law practice with “ensuring the rights of indigent defendants, the clients of the division, were protected .. ' but did not go into further detail.

Judge Laura Baldini said in her resignation letter, that “given present circumstances, if I were to remain as a member of this Commission, I would no longer be able to fulfill my statutory obligations.”

Attorney General William Tong has hired another law firm to investigate allegations inside the public defender’s office.

A spokesperson for the office says, “The Public Defender Services Commission received a complaint that they decided to investigate. In order to do the investigation, they needed the services of outside counsel. The Office of the Attorney General manages those outside counsel contracts on behalf of state entities, so facilitated that contract.”

Gov. Ned Lamont’s office said he planned to work quickly to see that the newly vacant seats on the commission are filled.

“The Governor is committed to working with the other appointing authorities to ensure that the work of the Commission continues uninterrupted,” says spokesperson Adam Joseph.

Six members are currently listed online as part of the commission, 4 have resigned.

None of the members returned calls for comment.