New York state will pay Montgomery County $739,000 over a three-year period to help cover the cost of public defenders for indigent residents.
The grant, which will be distributed over three years, with payments of $250,000, $247,000 and $242,000, will be used to provide legal counsel for a defendant's first court appearance in an effort to ensure that he or she actually appears.
The stated purpose of the grant is to improve legal services for indigent residents of Montgomery County, which in this context refers to defendants who are unable to pay for legal counsel, but are not necessarily homeless.
Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said the money is sorely needed for some of the defendants in the county's court system.
"It's my understanding that it is the state's priority to have an attorney present at the actual arraignment, and these funds help to provide that service," Ossenfort said.
The grant award was reviewed and passed by the Public Safety Committee of the Montgomery County Legislature last week for full-board approval during the legislature's monthly meeting to be held on Tuesday.
Amato's Duty weapon
Another resolution passed by the Public Safety Committee of the Montgomery County Legislature was a request by retiring Montgomery County Sheriff Mike Amato to purchase his duty weapon.
According to the resolution, Amato's duty weapon is a Model 22, Glock .40 cal. Semi-Automatic, Ser. Number VGM208, worth $300.
The resolution calls for the authorization of the sale of the gun to Amato at Tuesday's legislature meeting, pending proof of a background check, as required by New York State Law.