New Yakima public defenders contracted to reduce caseload

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima has contracted to get three to four more public defenders. It's to meet a mandate that limits a public defender's caseload to 400 a year.

Yakima officials said each of their public defenders currently handles about 700 cases a year. Yakima has budgeted $900,000 for 9.5 attorneys next year.

The new public defenders are expected to start in December. Starting next January, Yakima public defenders are expected to be at their targeted caseload.