Olmsted Co. public defenders file grievance - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Olmsted Co. public defenders file grievance

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Public defenders in 11 southeastern Minnesota counties including Olmsted, Winona and Rice have filed a labor grievance over their heavy workload.

The attorneys say they're overwhelmed with cases and can no longer adequately represent their clients. They say further staffing cuts will only exacerbate the situation.

A shortage of clerks in the Third Judicial District has public defenders doing most of their own clerical work and even serving subpoenas.

There are 370 public defender positions in the state. Fifty-three positions were cut in 2008 and another eight or nine public defenders left last year. The attorneys fear more positions will be cut at the end of the fiscal year June 30.

The Star Tribune reports the attorneys filed the grievance with the chief public defender in the third district.

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