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  • Evelyn Hill

Public Defender's Office In Wyandotte County by 2024

Just the beginning’: Wyandotte County to establish public defender’s office by 2024 BY AARÓN TORRES JANUARY 29, 2022 10:56 AM Wyandotte County will get a public defender’s office established, a week after several residents spoke in a public hearing on why the county should get one. GOOGLE MAPS Wyandotte County will establish a public defender’s office, a week after several residents spoke in a public hearing on why the county needed one. The Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services voted on Friday to create the office, said Jonathan Carter, a spokesperson for Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree. Eight of the nine board members voted to install the office. One board member abstained from the vote, Carter said. The public defender’s office is expected to be up and running by 2024, Carter said. TOP VIDEOS WATCH MORE × KU's Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and Dajuan Harris on their 72-68 win over TCU The lack of a public defender’s office in the county was one of the glaring issues that Dupree has constantly addressed since he was elected as district attorney in 2016. Without a public defender’s office, people accused of a crime in Wyandotte County are issued court-appointed attorneys by judges in the county. What’s Your KCQ? Which Kansas City-centric question should we tackle? READ MORE “A properly funded public defender’s office in Wyandotte County would not only address inequities, but would assure efficiency, oversight, and fiscal responsibility,” Dupree said in a letter he penned last week. “This would begin to capture the idea of a ‘more perfect’ union.” The letter also said that a person arrested for a crime is in custody on average for 16 days before an attorney is appointed. A report from the Commission on Racial Equity and Justice which recommended counties with at least 100,000 people have a public defender’s office. Wyandotte County has a population of at least 165,429, according to census data. Of the largest counties in Kansas, Wyandotte County has the largest minority population and the highest poverty rates. In a release Friday, More2, a local social justice organization, celebrated the decision to launch a public defender’s office. The organization said the office would help reduce the wait times for those accused of crimes.

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