Steve Smith, Republican candidate for Hamilton County public defender, pledged at Monday's Pachyderm Club meeting that he "will hire effective lawyers, if elected, rather than repeatedly seeking out money from the Hamilton County Commission."
"The justice system must be effective on both sides, the prosecution and the defense," Mr. Smith said. "Throwing more money at the problem in this instance is perpetuating the problem."
He said the 24-year incumbent, Ardena Garth, requested a $64,367 increase in Mayor Jim Coppinger's budget submitted for County Commission approval in May.
"A request for just over 10 percent more in spending of the total budget should concern citizens," said Mr. Smith. "The criminal justice system is growing at an unprecedented pace."
Mr. Smith, who has been an assistant in the office of Hamilton County District Attorney Bill Cox since 2006, said, "Most citizens will never use the office of the public defender, but your tax dollars need to be carefully managed to reduce trial times, decreasing the amount of time the indigent spend in jail unnecessarily, and to ensure effective legal representation."