Harkins, Merski: Over $100,000 secured for indigent defense in Erie

ERIE, June 10 – A total of $102,023 in new funding was awarded to Erie to bolster indigent defense, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today.

The grants were awarded through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s newly enabled Indigent Defense Advisory Committee. The new grant program aims to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of indigent defense services in Pennsylvania.

This will be achieved by recruiting and retaining staff, improving data collection and reporting, providing necessary training, professional development and technical assistance, and addressing any other needs identified by the county in collaboration with indigent defense service providers.

“In a monumental step forward, our commonwealth has affirmed its commitment to justice for all by awarding significant grant funding to bolster indigent defense,” Harkins said.

“This investment gets us one step closer to our goal of ensuring that every citizen, regardless of financial standing, has access to fair representation in our legal system.”

Merski said, “We celebrate this achievement not as a victory for a few, but as a foundational pillar in our pursuit of a more equitable society.

“Let us continue to work together to uphold the right to counsel as a basic human right, unwavering in our dedication to the principles of democracy and due process.”