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Public Defender, Stroger at Loggerheads

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Cook County Board President Todd Stroger faces continued criticism over layoffs at the public defenders office.That’s months after the deed was done.

Back in April, Todd Stroger let go thirteen public defense attorneys and support staff. That hasn’t sit well with public defender Edwin Burnette. He says his attorneys are overworked, and poor defendants might not get the representation they need. Eleven lawyers got reinstated, but Burnette’s filed suit to get all of them back, plus fill vacant positions. President Todd Stroger’s sticking to his decision.

STROGER: I can tell you that none of the other officials, says ‘woo, we’re happy to lose people in our offices,’ but that is the reality of being part of a large organization.

Stroger’s attorney says the public defender should seek money through the budget process, not court. President Stroger and some Cook County commissioners disagree about whether the last budget approved job cuts or not.

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