Local News

Dept. Of Social Services Sues Durham Public Defender For $10,000

Posted June 13, 2005

— A county agency claims the Durham public defender took advantage of its services and wants him to pay for it.

The Department of Social Services claims Bob Brown bogged down its child support agency with time-consuming requests for information, some of which it says was unnecessary.

The county agency, stretched thin by an annual caseload of 11,000 cases, said it could not handle Brown's repeated requests.

DSS claims Brown could have done a lot of the work on his own computer in his office or simply walk across the street to its office to get the information himself.

The defense, however, said Brown was simply doing his job.

As an advocate for poor clients, the defense argued that Brown was just trying to arm himself with as much information as possible so that he could give his clients the best defense possible.

DSS wants the public defender to pay $10,000 in sanctions.

If the judge agrees, it would come straight out of taxpayers' pockets.

The hearing is expected to continue later this week.

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