Hearing on need for specialized public defenders

Posted Dec. 14, 2010, at 5:46 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services is holding a public hearing on a proposal for new qualification requirements for public defenders.

The proposal recognizes specialized skills are needed for cases including homicides, serious violent felonies, juvenile defense and involuntary commitment. In those cases, the commission would only appoint certain lawyers with a certain level of experience and expertise.

Commission Director Rob Ruffner says it’s in everyone’s best interest to minimize wrongful convictions by ensuring counselors are up to the task.

The public hearing will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. in the State House.