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St. Lawrence County adds a public defender

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators agreed Monday to add a seventh public defender with the help of a $299,408 state grant spread over three years.

The public defender’s office handled more than 2,800 cases in the criminal and family courts in 2012 and more than 3,100 cases the following year. Stephen D. Button, the office’s chief, is the only attorney handling felonies in County Court; the grant will give him some assistance.

Legislators also accepted a $15,200 state grant for the district attorney’s office to purchase video equipment to record suspect interviews with police in Norfolk, Norwood, Potsdam and the Sheriff’s Department.

“This grant will give us a head start,” District Attorney Mary E. Rain said. “I’d like to see all the agencies have this because I think it makes prosecution that much easier.”

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