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Published February 19, 2013, 01:11 PM

North Dakota Senate bumps funding for legal aid agency

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Senate approved a measure Tuesday that gives more money to an agency that provides lawyers for criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire their own.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Senate approved a measure Tuesday that gives more money to an agency that provides lawyers for criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire their own.

The Senate voted unanimously to increase funding for the state Commission on Legal Counsel for Indigents from $11.7 million to $14.5 million over the next two years.

Robin Huseby tells The Associated Press that her legal aid agency last year handled 10,611 cases statewide. That's up more than 12 percent since 2009.

Huseby says Williams County in western North Dakota's booming oil patch had a 43 percent increase in cases since 2009.

She says the commission has about 50 lawyers under contract but many are being shifted from other parts of the state to western North Dakota due to the increased workload there.

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