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public defender's office

Local public defender's office juggles more work with less resources

By Dusty Rhodes/Anyone who has ever watched Dragnet, Hill Street Blues or Law & Order can recite the Miranda warning – "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you."

 It's the classic line signaling that the alleged bad guy is in custody, the crime has been solved, and the credits are about to roll. For public defenders, however, that line is where the work begins: They are the attorneys appointed to represent the poor crook in cuffs.

Dusty Rhodes/ Randall Rosenbaum, Champaign County chief public defender, puts in extra hours on the weekend.

Public defender finds passion, connections

When Katrina Roberts calls herself “just a mom,” it’s about like Spiderman calling himself “just an arachnid.” Roberts, a former hairdresser, and her husband Guy, a truck driver, have seven children – four of whom were adopted through the foster care system, some of whom have physical, emotional or developmental problems, none of which scared Roberts.

Dusty Rhodes/ Pam Burnside, who has worked in the Champaign Public Defender's Office her entire career, hopes her office decorations help clients identify with her enough to trust her.

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