Public Defenders Stop Taking New Cases

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The Sedgwick County public defenders office says it is not taking any new clients. It says its existing caseload is overwhelming at a time the office is underfunded and understaffed.

Chief public defender Steve Osburn says his office needs from two weeks to a month to catch up on its workload.

Osburn says public defenders have an obligation to offer ethical representation.

Sedgwick County District Judge Eric Yost presides over the criminal courts division. He says he will use private attorneys for court-appointed defense cases and bill the state.

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