Report calls for changes in legal representation of poor

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – A report has found that Tennessee’s system of providing court-appointed attorneys for the poor pales in comparison to the state’s power and resources.

The Commercial Appeal reports a task force appointed by the state Supreme Court released its findings Monday, saying that the current programs fail to adequately protect the liberties of those who cannot afford legal fees for things like representation in criminal cases and protecting children’s and parents’ rights in juvenile court proceedings.

The report recommends several changes, including increased funding and pay for attorneys.

Task force chairman and former state Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch Jr. says the findings will now go to the court, which will decide which recommendations to pursue.

The report notes that proposals regarding money must be enacted by state lawmakers.

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