FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - Available funding will determine when the federal court system's western Arkansas district can establish its own federal public defender office.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August approved a request by former Chief Judge Jimm Larry Hendren that the district be allowed to have such an office. Arkansas' only federal public defender program is based in Little Rock.
A study to determine if the western district qualified for a public defender showed the district had 495 annual cases, more than the 200-case threshold set in the Criminal Justice Act.