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Leland statement as public defender bill clears House

Bill offers student loan forgiveness for young lawyers who become public defenders in underserved areas of Ohio
June 20, 2019
David Leland News

State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) today issued the following statement on the passage of House Bill (HB) 5, his bipartisan bill to give lawyers who become public defenders tuition loan assistance of up to $85,000 for 5 years of service in underserved areas of the state.

“In one word, HB 5 is about justice. In Ohio, 70 percent of all defendants facing jail time are indigent, and their representation falls to Public Defenders, who are currently overwhelmed by this enormous caseload. That translates into potentially unnecessary jail time, unwise plea agreements, and even wrongful convictions – clearly the lack of justice.

“HB 5 not only means more Public Defenders, it also means, because of their time commitment, better public defenders in the long term. It also keeps the Ohio Promise of making sure the best and brightest stay right here in Ohio.

“Martin Luther King said that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ This is an opportunity to stand for justice.”

After passing the House, the bill moves to the Senate for further consideration.