Nashville Public Defenders Feel Shutdown Effects

The Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee is grappling with the effects of the government shutdown, the Tennessean reports. The office has a reserve fund set aside to cover operations during the shutdown until Oct. 14, but things could get worse if Congress does not pass a budget soon. Already hit by sequestration earlier this year, the 53-person staff has dealt with upaid time off, which led to some delays in trials and prosecution. Many employees voluntarily worked for free to keep cases from lagging, Federal Public Defender Henry Martin says, and he expects that to continue if the shutdown lasts longer than the office’s money holds out.