Public defender seeks $110K grant

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County Public Defender Gerard McAuliffe wants to apply for a three-year $110,124 state grant to improve various areas of his department.

McAuliffe informed the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee on Monday of his intention to apply for a three-year grant from the state’s Indigent Legal Services Fund. He gained committee authorization to apply, which still must go through the full board on Sept. 9.

The grant would be for $36,708 per year for an aggregate sum of $110,124 over the three years.

The public defender in any county often has to use outside assigned counsel, and McAuliffe said the state wants to improve on “quality control” involving those services.

McAuliffe broke down for the committee various items he wants to fund with the grant the next three years.

In the first and second years, he said, the office would add $3,000 each year to the copier account.

The office would add $10,000 each year for investigation services. McAuliffe said his department is budgeting $10,000 for those services, but he intends to encourage his assistants and assigned attorneys to use investigative services more.

“The amount currently budgeted is and has been inadequate, and as such, indigent clients have not had the benefit of investigative services,” he told the committee.

McAuliffe also proposes $10,708 each year for his office’s conference and schools account. He said his department has $1,500 allocated for continuing legal education, which he said is inadequate. He said he will encourage assistant public defenders to complete continuing legal education seminars and receive criminal law and family law education.

For the first two years of the grant, McAuliffe also wants to add $3,000 for office supplies and $10,000 each year for books and subscriptions.

For the third year, McAuliffe recommended continued funding of $36,708 for the fifth assistant public defender position, which previously was created.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at