Tippecanoe Co. Public Defender's Office blames drug epidemic for increasing caseloads

The Tippecanoe County Public Defender's Office is putting the blame on the drug epidemic for its soaring number of cases. To help curb the issue, nine new positions have been created.

Posted: Dec 7, 2017 7:12 PM
Updated: Dec 8, 2017 11:50 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The Tippecanoe County Public Defender's Office is putting the blame on the drug epidemic for its soaring number of cases. To help curb the issue, nine new positions have been created.

However, the office said the new positions are just a Band-Aid to its caseload crisis.

The Public Defender's Office caseloads are increasing and they're expected to increase even more next year. Right now, the office is in its fourth quarter and already they have eight more cases currently than they did this time last year. There are still three weeks left in the quarter.

The Tippecanoe County Public Defender's Office says it's in a crisis. They have too many cases and not enough money or time to do their clients justice.

"The CHINS and TPR cases were just exploding and so was the budget," said Chief Deputy Public Defender Robert Little.

Because of the increasing caseloads, Public Defender Robert Little says they needed help. Currently, most child service cases are appointed to private counsel on an hourly rate.

"In the last couple of years the hourly rate increased up to $90 an hour plus caseloads have just increased for basically all of the courts," said Little.

In an attempt to cap the budget the county granted the office nine new positions. Out of those, six will be part-time positions for strictly child services cases.

"We're bound by commission guidelines as to how many cases each attorney can take over the course of a year. And we were in danger of losing our reimbursement," said Little.

He said a big cause for the increased caseloads is the drug epidemic that has a choking grip on our county. He said not only are the cases increasing, but they're also more complex.

"Substance abuse, opioid issue crisis and its mental health," said Little. "You're having to get mental health evaluations, substance abuse evaluations and try to line up services. It's not as simple as just drug possession, let's get probation or let's see how much community corrections time."

That's why they're also hiring on a full-time public defender and two part-time conflict public defenders.

"We asked for what we thought would put a Band-Aid on it for this coming budget year," said Little.

The six part-time positions have not been filled. However, a full-time public defender and two part-time conflict public defenders have been hired and they're expected to start at the beginning of the year.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 53°
Kokomo
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 57°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 53°
Williamsport
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 53°
Crawfordsville
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 54°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 56°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 55°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Warming up with plenty of sunshine!
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events