Lawsuit over public defender system gets tossed

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit alleging Washington County’s public defender system is too underfunded and overworked to properly support its low-income clients.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports the suit was filed in January on behalf of William Cox and Edward Paulus, who have both been assigned public defenders for their pending criminal cases. But a judge dismissed the complaint, ruling the men can’t claim they’ve been harmed because their criminal cases have not yet been resolved.

The judge also called their claims “sweeping, yet unsupported.”

Attorney Michael Studebaker, who filed the proposed class-action suit, says the judge’s decision represents a setback for “indigent defense.”