COMMITTEE EXAMINES WAYS TO PROVIDE QUALITY INDIGENT DEFENSE

“You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

That portion of the reading of an arrestee’s Miranda rights has worked its way into the normal lexicon of law enforcement, legal professionals, and watchers of criminal investigation television programs.

The landmark 1963 US Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright established the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and due process requires that those who cannot afford a defense attorney in felony cases must be provided one at the expense of the state. That requirement was later expanded to include any case in which one’s liberty may be deprived. One’s right to counsel in such cases has also been recognized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in case law and in its rulemaking capacity.

What the right does not detail, however, is how well indigent defense counsel (also known as public defenders) should be trained or how public defender offices should be funded. Currently, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not provide funding to counties to run public defender offices.

Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee examined the issue in conjunction with Senate Bill 979, which would provide funding for a training center those involved in indigent criminal defense.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

NURSES EVALUATE LEGISLATURE, HONOR LEGISLATORS

The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) held an event  at the Capitol Monday afternoon in coordination with their legislative day.

The association evaluated the legislature and their responsiveness to nurses issues. They gave the General Assembly a B+ for legislative action, noting achievement in passing Senate Bill 5, which provides for community-based health care. The association said the legislature did not get a higher grade largely due to it not passing association supported safe staffing legislation.

The association also gave the legislature a B for overall responsiveness and a B+ in improvement, particularly noting action on the Healthy Pennsylvania plan.

Sen. Joseph Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Rep. Stephen Barrar (R-Delaware) were each honored for their continuing commitment to support and provide a voice to nurses across the state.  

 

 

Monday, March 31, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: Event Central
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CAMPERS RETURN TO CAPITOL TO CALL FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION

Nine months ago, a group of advocates calling themselves “Faces of Medicaid” camped out at the Capitol outside the office of Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) to urge Gov. Tom Corbett to adopt Medicaid expansion in its entirety.

Monday, the deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, several of the same campers returned to the Capitol with Sen. Hughes to again call on the governor to adopt Medicaid expansion wholesale, as opposed to the Healthy Pennsylvania plan that has been submitted to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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Monday, March 31, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views
MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION URGED AT MONDAY RALLY

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION URGED AT MONDAY RALLY

Some call it cannabis, some call it marijuana, some call it a gateway drug, while others call it a natural resource that has numerous health benefits. No matter what you call it, organizers of a rally that packed the Capitol’s Main Rotunda Monday morning called for it to be legalized.

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Monday, March 31, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

FOLLOW UP: DRUG COURTS AND THE HEROIN CRISIS

As advertised, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Corrections held its hearing on how drug courts relate to Pennsylvania’s heroin crisis.

During the hearing, subcommittee members heard from a panel of judges, drug court graduates, and legal professionals on how drug courts have lowered recidivism, provided treatment options, and turned around the lives of those who enter drug court programs.

The committee also heard different perspectives about how the heroin crisis got so bad and the need to combat the problem on the front end through education and prevention, and not just through back end rehabilitation.

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Monday, March 31, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views
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