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Tupelo seeks to hire full-time public defender

February 17, 2019

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Northeast Mississippi’s largest city wants to hire a full-time public defender for its municipal court.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton has proposed spending $69,000 to hire the lawyer.

The city currently spends $36,000 for two part-time public defenders for people who risk jail and can’t afford their own representation.

City attorney Ben Logan says part-time public defenders haven’t worked out because municipal courts hold hearings on short notice and on Sunday afternoons. Court rules implemented several years ago require hearings within 48 hours of arrest.

Logan says part-time lawyers haven’t been flexible and reliable enough.

Shelton proposes funding the new position with sales tax revenue, but several city council members say they want Shelton to cut other employees to pay for the position.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, http://djournal.com

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