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Cyrus Dugger

House of Representatives Passes Loan Repayment Bill for Public Defenders

From the Brennan Center for Justice:


House of Representatives Passes Loan Repayment Bill for Public Defenders

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced a similar bill for civil legal aid attorneys in the U.S. Senate. See Legal Services E-lert of April 27, 2007.

The House voted Tuesday to pay off up to $60,000 in student loans for lawyers who commit to working as public defenders or prosecutors for at least three years. The bill, estimated to cost some $25 million a year, passed 341-73. A similar measure has been introduced in the Senate. House sponsor David Scott, D-Ga., said the bill would help counter high turnover in public defender and prosecutor offices across the country. "Our communities suffer when the criminal justice system lacks a sufficient supply of experienced prosecutors and defenders," Scott said in a statement. "Criminal caseloads become unmanageable, cases can be delayed or mishandled, serious crimes may go unprosecuted, and innocent defendants may be sent to jail while guilty criminals go free." The bill would provide loan repayments of up to $10,000 per year - up to a cap of $60,000 - for law school graduates who work as criminal prosecutors or public defenders instead of taking what are often more lucrative jobs at private firms.

Source: Ben Evans, Bill: Repay Lawyer's Loans for Service, Associated Press, May 15, 2007.

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Posted at 3:37 PM, May 18, 2007 in
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