FTC ends investigation of Mass. public defenders

According to Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, the Federal Trade Commission has cancelled its investigation of the Massachusetts public defenders’ group, initiated in August after lawyers refused to accept appointments to new criminal cases. The SLJ’s announcement says that its board was informed by its attorney, Joseph Kociubes of Bingham McCutchen, that the FTC’s Bureau of Competition has decided to terminate the investigation of SLJ and has withdrawn its request that SLJ produce virtually all of its internal documents generated over the past two years. The announcement quotes SLJ co-chair John Salsberg as saying, “The Board of SLJ is pleased that the FTC exercised its discretion to end the investigation, after it became more fully informed of the nature of the actions of SLJ this past August, when attorneys refused to accept appointments to new cases in the criminal courts. A far reaching investigation would only have diverted SLJ’s limited resources from its mission to improve legal services to the indigent charged with crimes in Massachusetts.”