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      ACLU Says Dawson County Public Defender Office Understaffed

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      LEXINGTON, Neb. (AP) -- A Nebraska civil rights organization is warning a central Nebraska county that its public defender's office is woefully understaffed, to the point of violating state and federal constitutions.

      The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says Dawson County had only a part-time public defender with a part-time deputy to handle more than 250 cases last year.

      The ACLU says the standard is no more than 150 felonies per full-time public defender each year.

      The group sent a letter Thursday to the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, saying the public defender's office must be better staffed, or the ACLU could sue.

      Dawson County Commissioner Butch Hagan said Thursday he had not seen the letter and that the board will soon be voting on staffing for the public defender's office.

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