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Nueces Co. Public Defender's Office to open next year

District Judge Missy Medary is on the Texas Indigent Defense Commission, which funds public defenders through grants.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — District Judge Missy Medary believes a new Public Defender's Office will be up and running by the first of next year. 

That news coming after the County had submitted a grant for $14 million to fund the office but instead got back $7.2 million from the state.

Medary is on the Texas Indigent Defense Commission which funds public defenders through grants. She told 3News the County had hoped to get the $14 million to hire 10-to-15 more attorneys. 

However, with the grant being half of that, it cuts the County's plans in half as well.

"It will be a smaller office than what we had dreamed about obviously," Medary said. "We are going to be handling 45% of all mental health cases and 13% of non-mental health cases so the office will start out with a chief public defender who will then hire staff."

Medary said the goal of the office is to get the right help to those inmates who are flagged as having mental health backgrounds. She adds that an oversight board is going to be selected and then it's first order of business is to hire a chief public defender. 

Medary said they've already received a lot of interest from local attorney's who looking at the job.

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