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Bill Aims To Increase Number Of Public Defenders In Ohio

Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) at a press conference with other Ohio House Democrats in 2019.
Ohio House
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Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) at a press conference with other Ohio House Democrats in 2019.

About 70% of people who are facing jail time in Ohio need the services of a public defender, but there’s a shortage of them. Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that its backers say would increase the number of public defenders in the state.

State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus), an attorney himself, says his bill would increase the number of public defenders by offering student loan relief to lawyers.

“We are going to reimburse that student debt up to $50,000 if they pledge five years of service to be a public defender in an area that is underserved," Leland says.

The same bill unanimously passed the Ohio House in the last General Assembly but didn’t make it through the Senate.

Leland hopes by passing the bill in the Ohio House soon, Senators will have time to take it up during this two-year session.