1 in 4 Kansas public defenders quit last year

By Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) A record one in four Kansas public defenders quit last year, with many blaming high caseloads and low salaries.

The Board of Indigents’ Defense Services’ executive direction, Pat Scalia, calls the situation “a crisis.” She has asked lawmakers for a nearly $500,000 boast in next year’s budget to fund public defender salaries.

Among those quitting last year was Ruslan Ivanov. He blamed high stress, telling KCUR-FM that he typically juggled between 60 and 90 cases and sometimes worked seven days a week.

Scalia told lawmakers in February that the situation is so bad that several public defender offices had to stop taking new cases because they were so overwhelmed. She says the heavy workloads have resulted in hundreds of cases being assigned to private counsel.