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ICYMI: Shapiro-Davis Budget Proposes Historic Funding for Indigent Defense, Highlights Sustained Need of Funding to Support Public Defense for Pennsylvanians Unable to Afford Legal Counsel

02/14/2024

A year after taking the first steps to end Pennsylvania’s “shameful distinction” as one of only two states that did not pay for public defenders, Gov. Josh Shapiro and state lawmakers said Monday they would negotiate to make more money available for indigent defense.

Harrisburg, PA – After proposing $10 million for indigent defense funding in the 2024-25 budget, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s (PCCD) Indigent Defense Advisory Committee held its inaugural meeting earlier this week and Governor Shapiro joined Lt. Governor Austin Davis, members of the Indigent Defense Advisory Committee, and legislative leaders to highlight the ongoing need and importance of this investment.

Building on the $7.5 million secured in the 2023-24 budget, Governor Shapiro proposed a $2.5 million increase for indigent defense funding in the 2024-25 budget – proposing a total of $10 million to be funded through PCCD and the Indigent Defense Advisory Committee to increase resources for public defenders and access to constitutionally required legal representation for defendants who cannot pay for it on their own.

“Everyone deserves fair and equal treatment in the justice system, and if someone is unable to afford legal defense, that can lessen their chances of receiving that,” said Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis, PCCD Chair. “The Shapiro-Davis Administration is taking bold steps to ensure Pennsylvanians are given the tools to move their lives forward in a positive direction, and this first meeting of the Indigent Defense Advisory Committee highlighted gaps in data collection and the importance of this funding for our underserved population of indigent defendants.”

Check out the news coverage below of Governor Shapiro’s historic investments in indigent defense.

Watch:

WGAL: Shapiro Administration Highlights Importance of Investing in Public Defenders

WFMZ: Shapiro Wants Funding for Public Defenders

FOX 43: PA Looks to Expand Indigent Defense Funds

WICU: Plans for PA's First Indigent Defense Fund

Read:

City and State: ‘The need is great’ for money to pay public defenders, Shapiro says after proposing $10M increase

A year after taking the first steps to end Pennsylvania’s “shameful distinction” as one of only two states that did not pay for public defenders, Gov. Josh Shapiro and state lawmakers said Monday they would negotiate to make more money available for indigent defense. […]

KYW: Gov. Shapiro pushes for additional funding for public defenders

About a week ago, Shapiro proposed that $10 million of the 2024-2025 state budget be used to aid in the legal defense of those who cannot afford an attorney — an increase of $2.5 million from the year prior.

Two years ago, the fund didn’t exist. […]

Levittown Now: Governor Proposes Additional Funding For Indigent Defense

As part of an effort to provide legal representation for the state’s poorest defendants, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced a $10 million allocation for indigent defense as part of his 2024-2025 budget proposal.

On Monday, the Democratic governor and other officials held a press conference following the first meeting of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Indigent Defense Advisory Committee. […]

Penn Capital-Star: ‘The need is great’ for money to pay public defenders, Shapiro says after proposing $10M increase

A year after taking the first steps to end Pennsylvania’s “shameful distinction” as one of only two states that did not pay for public defenders, Gov. Josh Shapiro and state lawmakers said Monday they would negotiate to make more money available for indigent defense.

In a news conference that followed the first meeting of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Indigent Defense Advisory Committee, lawmakers and Shapiro spoke about the importance of investing in public defenders’ offices.  […]

PennLive: Committee begins work to distribute Pa. public defender money as Shapiro asks for more

[…] The state’s new Indigent Defense Advisory Committee held its inaugural meeting on Monday, followed by a press conference where Shapiro and other state leaders discussed their long-fought effort for Pennsylvania to provide routine funding to help those who cannot afford their own attorneys. […]

The Keystone: Shapiro and lawmakers celebrate historic funding for public defenders

Gov. Josh Shapiro along with Lt. Gov. Austin Davis and Democratic leaders gathered in the Governor’s Reception Room at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday to celebrate historic funding for indigent defense services.

Last year marked the first time in the commonwealth’s history that Pennsylvania provided funding for indigent defense services, which provides public defenders with resources to provide legal defense for those who cannot afford it, after Shapiro secured $7.5 million in his first budget as governor. 

The governor is pushing for a $2.5 million increase in funding for these public defender services in the upcoming 2024-25 budget. […]


MEDIA CONTACT: Ali Gantz - algantz@pa.gov


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