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2024 Press Releases

Posted on: February 9, 2024

Montco’s Chief Public Defender Appointed to Committee Overseeing State’s First Public Defense Fund

NORRISTOWN—­­Montgomery County’s Chief Public Defender, Christine P. Lora, Esquire, has been appointed to Pennsylvania’s newly established statewide Indigent Defense Advisory Committee. As part of this committee, Lora will be responsible for making recommendations regarding Pennsylvania’s first state public defense fund.

 

The Indigent Defense Advisory Committee was created as part of a new law signed by Governor Josh Shapiro directing $7.5 million in state funding towards public defense. The committee will oversee the spending of the state’s first Indigent Defense Grant Program and propose and adopt standards for county public defender offices. It will be required to provide a recommendations report within two years.

  

“This investment in state funding for public defense is a huge step forward for Pennsylvania,” said Jamila H. Winder, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Counties have been responsible for funding public defense without state input for too long, and until now, Pennsylvania was one of the last states that did not offer any. Christine is an excellent appointment to this statewide committee. She truly believes in strengthening indigent defense, so this appointment is great for Montgomery County, and great for Pennsylvania as a whole.”

 

“It is an honor to serve our local community as Chief Public Defender, and to continue this service at the state level is a tremendous opportunity,” said Christine P. Lora, Esquire, Chief of the County’s Public Defender Office. “Every Pennsylvania resident deserves access to fair and adequate defense. To be able to work to improve indigent defense services across the Commonwealth is an undertaking I’m proud to be a part of.”

 

“Every resident of Montgomery County and every Pennsylvanian deserves fair treatment and strong representation,” said Neil Makhija, Montgomery County Commissioner. “Adequately funding for public defense and leveling the standards across all counties in Pennsylvania improves the equity in our justice system. We congratulate Christine on her appointment to continue her calling in public defense work, and we are proud that our Chief Defender was appointed to advise the Commonwealth.”



“Christine will be an excellent steward for indigent defense programs for the whole Commonwealth,” said Thomas DiBello, Montgomery County Commissioner. “I look forward to seeing how the work of the statewide committee develops, and the recommendations that will be forthcoming to set standard benchmarks across Pennsylvania.”

 

Lora was appointed to become Chief of Montgomery County’s Public Defender Office in June 2023 after significant reforms at the County level to ensure that all residents have access to legal defense regardless of ability to pay. She previously served as a senior trial attorney for the Defender Association of Philadelphia for over eight years. She will join four other public defenders and three judges from across Pennsylvania on the new Indigent Defense Advisory Committee.

 

Media Contact: Megan Alt, megan.alt@montgomerycountypa.gov

 

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