Tuesday, Philadelphians will be able to vote on an amendment to the City Charter concerning indigent defense. The measure, introduced by City Councilperson Dennis M. O’Brien, would require City Council approval of contracts for one year or less for indigent defense. The effect of the Charter amendment would give City Council an official voice in setting up or rejecting a second defender office.
The proposed Carter amendment will be Question Three on the ballot. All voters—whether they be registered nonpartisan, Democratic or Republican—may vote on the ballot questions.
The ballot question reads:
Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide that Council approval is required for certain contracts for one year or less for the purpose of providing legal representation and related services for indigent persons, including but not limited to parents and children who are subjects of dependency proceedings; criminal defendants; persons in juvenile justice proceedings; persons involved in behavioral health proceedings; and indigent persons involved in other proceedings where legal representation is required?