Published on: Monday, July 24, 2023

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have advanced spending bills that would cut millions of dollars from the budget of Defender Services, which represents poor defendants accused of federal offenses (article available here).

Earlier this week, Reuters and NPR reported that the budget the federal public defenders have requested has been slashed in a pair of recent appropriations bills.

The reduction appears to stem from a pandemic-era savings of $110 million the public defenders applied to their current budget, which permitted Congress to allocate a lesser amount of new money. However, congressional proposals for the upcoming fiscal year would adhere to the lower amount, raising the possibility of cuts, furloughs and delays for public defenders and the clients they represent.

Virginia L. Grady, who heads the federal public defender's office for Colorado and Wyoming, spoke to Colorado Politics about the effect that Congress' spending cuts, if enacted, would have on the administration of justice and the provision of criminal defense.