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Mother sues when child denied public defender

The mother of a juvenile who was denied a public defender filed a federal lawsuit Thursday demanding punitive damages from the state and the state public defender agency.

Michelle Hill of Lexington filed the federal suit on behalf of a child accused of being beyond the control of a school.

Public defenders began withdrawing from certain types of cases on July 1 because of budget cuts. Attorneys for Hill say the Department of Public Advocacy should spend all of its funds before attempting to withdraw from cases. They also want a declaratory judgment that the case withdrawals are unconstitutional.

Public defenders filed a motion asking to withdraw from the juvenile's case, but it was denied by a Fayette family court judge. Hill's attorneys are claiming infliction of emotional distress and demanding unspecified punitive damages to punish the state and DPA.