Cook Co. Public Defender Says The Dept. Cannot Afford More Cuts

CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County’s Public Defender is vigorously defending her budget as the County Board tries to close a 200 million dollar shortfall because of the Soda Tax repeal.

Public defender Amy Campanelli told a budget hearing she cannot cut more money from her budget than she already has. Commissioner Richard Boykin was incredulous.

“It’s highly unacceptable that you don’t even propose to cut one dollar from a 76 million dollar budget,” said Boykin.

First Campanelli said that’s not true. She argued there are vacancies she hasn’t been allowed to fill because of the county budget.

“I have about 40 attorney positions vacant. At least seven investigator positions. I think there was two Spanish interpreters that I was never allowed to hire,” said Campanelli. “Remember last year I was telling you that I have one Spanish interpreter for my whole office.”

Campanelli passionately told commissioners she was upholding people’s constitutional rights as the law say she must, so she needs resources.

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