Philly criminals awaiting trial to be set free?

Ahh… This is refreshing to hear.

Budget Crisis Could Cause Problems For Phila. Legal System, Bar Association Head Warns

by KYW’s Mike Dunn

With the city’s budget teetering on collapse, the chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association is warning that the mayor’s decision to stop payments to court-appointed attorneys could prompt judges to release defendants awaiting trial.

Payments to all vendors have been stopped by the mayor until Harrisburg votes on measures that Nutter needs to balance his budget. Those vendors include court-appointed attorneys who represent destitute defendants.

Bar chancellor Sayde Ladov is now worried that those attorneys may stop taking such cases, and that could prompt judges to release defendants who are unrepresented:

“If things really get bad, you could have a situation where criminals are let out of jail because speedy trial rights are not observed.”

Ladov has sent a letter to Nutter protesting the suspension of payments to the attorneys, which she hopes will be used by Nutter as a bit of leverage as he lobbies Harrisburg for the approvals he needs.

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania House could vote as early as Wednesday on legislation the city needs to avert drastic cuts. But even if it passes the House, the Senate Republican leader says the Philadelphia legislation will only be considered as part of a final state budget resolution.