HOBBS, N.M. (AP) – A public defender office in southeastern New Mexico has announced it won’t be taking new clients amid a budget crisis in the state.
The Hobbs News-Sun reports that Hobbs Public Defender Office intends to start filing a “notice of unavailability” into magistrate court on Monday. That means the office cannot accept appointments for representation in the adult criminal courts of Lea County for 90 days.
Public defenders are state-funded attorneys who represent defendants charged with a crime, who are unable to obtain private counsel.
The announcement comes after Fifth Judicial District Court District Attorney Diana Luce said last month her office would have to cut personnel due to a budget crunch.
The Fifth Judicial District Court covers Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties and includes Roswell.