The restructuring of the Public Defenders’ Office is deemed a success

BEDFORD – Chief Public Defender Tim Sledd told the commissioners his restructuring of his office is working and saving the county money.

Tim Sledd

“The organization was understaffed, we were contracting out public defenders costing the county $100 plus an hour and clients were not seeing their attorneys,” Sledd added. “That has all changed. We are fully staffed, we are handling the caseloads assigned by the courts, and our clients are seeing their attorneys. I am working hard to minimize costs to the county and we are maximizing performance.”

Sledd presented the commissioner with a July and August 2022 Case Assignment report.

The reports represent the number of cases public defenders represented clients. A Level 1 felony is a very serious offense, while a Level 6 felony is a lower offense.

July 2022

  • Level 1 Felony – 0
  • Level 2 Felony – 1
  • Level 3 Felony – 5
  • Level 4 Felony – 0
  • Level 5 Felony – 3
  • Level 6 Felony – 27
  • Misdemeanors – 10
  • Juvenile Delinquents – 4
  • Juvenile Status – 0
  • CHINS (Children in Need of Service) – 4
  • Termination of Parental Rights – 1
  • Appeals – 1
  • IVD (Child Support) – 2
  • Petition to Revoke – 29

Total – 87

August 2022

  • Level 1 Felony – 0
  • Level 2 Felony – 1
  • Level 3 Felony – 0
  • Level 4 Felony – 3
  • Level 5 Felony – 6
  • Level 6 Felony – 48
  • Misdemeanors – 25
  • Juvenile Delinquents – 4
  • Juvenile Status – 0
  • CHINS (Children in Need of Service) – 14
  • Termination of Parental Rights – 0
  • Appeals – 0
  • IVD (Child Support) – 5
  • Petition to Revoke – 25

Total – 131

CHINS cases require two to three or more public defenders on average per case. In those cases, the child is issued an attorney along with any parents or guardians.

These counts do not include informally resolved cases at an initial hearing.

“We are swamped, very busy, but our clients are seeing their attorneys,” added Sledd. “The Sheriff and jail staff are helping us with seeing it is done.”