Shutdown Could Deplete Funding for Connecticut's Federal Public Defender

Oct 8, 2013

Credit Ammodramus / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut’s federal public defender, Terence Ward, said money to fund his office may run out early next week if the government shutdown continues. "The shutdown, it’s a nightmare," he said. During the first ten business days of the shutdown, his office of 17 employees is operating on funds money from court fees.

"After ten days," Ward said, "I will have to declare people who are either essential or non-essential, and people who are non-essential would be furloughed. But given that we’re so small, and that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is continuing to bring criminal cases, my view right now is that everybody is essential."

Ward’s office represents people charged with federal crimes who are indigent. "We won’t have the funds to hire experts," he said. "The court may not have funds to pay jurors." So Ward said it's not clear what will happen if the government shutdown persists for a month or more.