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Department of Public Advocacy awarded more than $100,000 for Data Collection, Pilot Program in Hardin County

Funding to address adverse effects of COVID-19 on indigent clients

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 14, 2020) – The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (DPA) has been awarded $102,270 from the U.S. Department of Justice's (USDOJ) Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program (CESF) administered by the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet to gather pandemic-related data and launch a pilot project in Hardin County.

Read the Full Press Release.



Department of Public Advocacy Justice & Public Safety Cabinet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                          Contact: Cara Lane Cape

(502) 564-8006

​Kentucky's Public Defenders are Concerned about a Premature

Return to Open Court Proceedings

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 26, 2020) - As a precaution to protect participants from possible exposure and spread of COVID-19, most criminal court proceedings have been suspended since March, but that is about to change and public defender leaders are worried about what they may mean for the health of their attorneys and others in the system.

On May 15, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued an order that trial courts in June could “resume hearing civil and criminal matters using available telephonic and video technology to conduct all proceedings remotely.” In the days since the order was issued, however, some trial courts have announced an intention to resume hearings as early as June 1 with all parties physically present in the courtroom, not appearing through remote means as ordered by the Supreme Court. A few courts have already scheduled dockets for early June with hundreds of cases scheduled to be heard in-person each day.

According to the leaders of the Department of Public Advocacy (DPA), which is responsible for providing hundreds of public defenders to represent clients before every criminal court in the Commonwealth, those trial courts may be going too far too quickly. Public Advocate Damon Preston said, “The Supreme Court announced a careful plan for a temporary transition stage as a bridge from the period of presumptive court closure that has been in place since March and a future period when courts can return to some degree of normal proceedings. We believe all courts should follow this gradual approach, which begins with online remote hearings.”

Download full release HERE.