South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense (SCCID) executive director J. Hugh Ryan III told a state House committee Tuesday that the ranks of public defenders in the state has increased.
Ryan said there are 278 public defenders in South Carolina an increase of 60 positions since 2012. He said that’s tremendous step forward for the state.
“It’s been a win not just for the public defender community, for the whole criminal justice system that we’ve been able to increase those public defender levels,” said Ryan.
Ryan testified before the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Subcommittee as part of the House’s oversight of various state agencies.
The Commission on Indigent Defense, through the Office of Indigent Defense and its divisions, oversee the administration of criminal justice and the improvement and expansion of defender services, establishes and monitors programs and services for legal representation to indigent defendants charged with criminal offenses in the courts of the state.
The agency also oversees the payment to court-appointed attorneys for certain legal services performed on behalf of indigent clients in the Family Courts of the state.
The Appellate Defense division of SCCID handles appeals on behalf of indigent clients and consists of a staff of eight attorneys. The Capital Trials division handles capital cases, statewide, frequently partnering with outside counsel appointed by the court.