Heather Cessna Discusses Kansas System on Public Defenseless
Today on the Public Defenseless Podcast, Hunter spoke with Heather Cessna, Executive Director of the Kansas Board of Indigent Defense Services, to discuss her role in turning around Public Defense in Kansas. When Hunter first started his research into indigent defense, Kansas stood out as a state with a bleak future. It's offices were plagued with crippling caseloads that forced incredibly high turnover rates (sometimes 25|PERCENT| in a single year!), and it would often be necessary for offices to close themselves off to accepting new cases. This all happened despite KBIDS only responsible for felony cases!
Yet right as Hunter was preparing to close the book on Kansas, Heather Cessna took over as Executive Director and things began to change. Heather made every effort to collect data on cases and the well being of her attorneys. With this data, she built legislators a clear road map of the ways in which low public defender pay, high caseloads, and high turnover, impacted every person in the state of Kansas and crippled the state's legal system. While there is still a lot of work to be done, Heather's been able to secure major victories for Public Defense in the state thanks to her data driven approaches and zealous advocacy!