ACLU seeks release of 18 jailed without attorneys

July 24, 2009 11:10:38 AM PDT
The American Civil Liberties Union is asking the state Supreme Court to release 18 central Pennsylvania inmates sentenced to jail without attorneys present in court. ACLU of Pennsylvania attorney Mary Catherine Roper filed the petition Thursday. She says the 18 didn't have attorneys when sentenced to Berks County Prison for failure to pay child support.

The ACLU learned of the cases when contacted by 45-year-old Cesar Cepeda Jr., sentenced by Judge Timothy Rowley in July 2008 to 15 months in jail.

The ACLU says President Judge Jeffrey Schmehl has said all 18 inmates will get new hearings with attorneys present, but he has refused to release them in the meantime.


Information from: Reading Eagle,

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