A new report highlights state efforts to abandon the practice of charging older youth in the adult justice system.

This Act helps facilitate legal services to underserved communities. It defines and restricts how a person or organization can use the term "legal aid." The Act directs the state Judicial Council to set up a pilot program to appoint legal representation for unrepresented low-income parties in civil matters involving critical issues such as domestic violence, child custody, and elder abuse.

The Missouri public defender system announced yesterday that its Springfield office would not accept new cases until August because attorneys have exceeded their maximum caseloads.

In the face of an economic recession and budget constraints, states are finding it more difficult to provide a constitutionally mandated public defense attorney for indigent criminal defendants.

An $11 million shortfall in North Carolina’s Office of Indigent Defense budget could have a ripple effect throughout the state’s criminal justice system.  Public defenders handle about 32 percent of indigent cases, and the Office of Indigent Defense Services contracts with private attorneys to handle the rest. But the 2011 fiscal year shortfall puts that legal service in jeopardy.