The Summit County Council has passed a resolution calling on the Ohio Senate to support increasing state reimbursements to counties for indigent defense in the state budget bill.

The resolution, which passed unanimously Monday, also thanked Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio House for supporting the measure in the proposed state budget, a $69 billion bill that passed in the House last month and was sent to the Senate.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in a 1963 case that states are required to provide legal counsel to indigent defendants or those who can’t afford legal defense on their own.

“County budgets have been strained for decades” by the state passing those costs down to counties, the resolution states.

The state reimbursement rate to counties for indigent defense costs has averaged 35 percent over the last 10 years, forcing counties to spend millions in general revenue funds to provide indigent defense, according to the resolution. In that time period, Summit County spent more than $40.8 million on indigent defense costs and was reimbursed more than $15.2 million by the state.

DeWine provided counties an additional $60 million each fiscal year of his introduced state budget, and the Ohio House added another $35 million in fiscal year 2021 to the state budget bill to reimburse counties for indigent defense costs.

In other action Monday, the council passed resolutions declaring June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the week of June 9-15 as "A Week to Change Direction in Summit County,” which recognizes the need to increase knowledge and support for efforts working to change the culture of mental health to ensure those in need receive care and support.

The county Ccouncil also passed a resolution declaring June 7 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

Additionally, the council passed a resolution to employ Lisa Skapura as the director of the county’s department of internal auditing for six more years at $128,107 a year.


 

Contact Emily Mills at 330-996-3334, emills@thebeaconjournal.com and @EmilyMills818.