Oregon’s Chief Justice Fires Public Defense Services Commission

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon’s chief justice has fired all the members of the Public Defense Services Commission, frustrated that hundreds of defendants charged with crimes and who cannot afford an attorney have been unable to find public defenders to represent them.

The unprecedented action comes as Oregon’s unique public defender system has come under such strain that it is at the breaking point.

Criminal defendants in Oregon who have gone without legal representation due to a shortage of public defenders filed a lawsuit in May that alleges the state is violating their constitutional right to legal counsel and a speedy trial.

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