The ACLU of Idaho is suing the state over its public defense system. Public defenders represent people accused of crimes who can’t afford a lawyer, a principle enshrined in the constitution.
Idaho has known for years that its public defenders are overburdened and, in some cases, can’t adequately serve their clients. The state has set up multiple committees to address the issue. But the civil rights group says it won’t wait for those committees anymore.
We wanted to understand what challenges Idaho public defenders face, so we spoke with Stacey DePew, one of three attorneys contracted to do public defense in south-central Idaho’s Jerome County.
DePew spent a few years in private practice but has been doing public defense in Jerome for seven years. You can listen to her talk about the life of a public defender starting with a typical day.