MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature was able to approve a resolution last night that would continue the county’s pilot program for the arraignment of criminal defendants in Jamestown City Court through the end of this year. The extension did not take place until after much debate and an exchange between Legislator and former Public Defender William Coughlin (D-Fredonia) and County District Attorney David Foley.
- AUDIO: COUGHLIN-FOLEY EXCHANGE
Coughlin said he supports the program, but feels the DA’s office should be paying for its contribution to the program with money from its own budget, rather than using additional money from the legislator. He said the DA’s office already receives $260,000 more in money than the public defender’s office, adding that if better managed, it should have no problem coming up with the funds to continue participating in the program. District Attorney Foley, who was in attendance for last night’s meeting, took exception to Coughlin’s statement, explaining that spending in his office is on-par or below average when compared to similar counties throughout the state.
In the end, lawmakers spent more than half an hour discussing the program, including its effectiveness, before finally given approval to extend it through the end of this year, at an additional cost of just over $20,000.
We will feature the much of discussion involving the program, including comments from Public Defender Ned Barone, tonight on WRFA’s Community Matters program, which airs at 6 p.m.