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DAs, defenders still at odds over program funding

The state’s top prosecutors and public defenders are hoping that an event today concerning funding will be more of a civil discussion rather than the barroom shouting match that erupted at the State House last month.

The state’s top prosecutors and public defenders are hoping that an event today concerning funding will be more of a civil discussion rather than the barroom shouting match that erupted at the State House last month.

The event was billed as a solution-seeking discussion at Suffolk University’s Rappaport Center. However, as it drew near, both sides were standing by their original arguments.

“What we’re trying to make clear is the gross disparity in funding between the state’s district attorneys who prosecute every criminal offense and the state’s bar advocates program, which handles about two-thirds of those cases,” said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley. “It’s a system that cannot continue and fiscal responsibility demands that the broken system be fixed.”

Conley will be one of the panelists speaking about the funding issues during this afternoon’s event.

Also slated to be on the panel is Anthony Benedetti, the chief of the state’s Committee for Public Counsel Services.

In an opinion piece that appeared Saturday on Southcoasttoday.com, Benedetti called the funding statistics cited by some of the state district attorneys “misguided and erroneous.”

“Every penny that CPCS spends in the representation of its indigent clients may be found in four budget line items on the state website. Such transparency is utterly lacking when it comes to the extensive resources enjoyed by prosecutors,” he wrote.

 
 
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