Advocates push for free legal aid services

By , October 26, 2009 11:11 pm

CHEYENNE — Without free legal aid services, “poor people don’t get justice,” says Jennifer Winters of Cheyenne.

Winters, a former client of Legal Aid of Wyoming, is a new member of the organization’s board.

Winters, 39, is a single mother with a 12-year-old daughter. She underwent a double lung transplant 10 years ago because of a genetic condition and cannot work due to a weakened immune system.

“It’s sad that for financial reasons you don’t get access to quality representation,” she said. “It should be there for everybody, not just for people who can afford it.”

Legal Aid of Wyoming is headquartered in Cheyenne. Winters said she was fortunate to receive help with her divorce from Ray Macchia, the director of Legal Aid of Wyoming, who handled her drawn-out case to the end.

Winters strongly favors the Access to Justice Commission’s attempt to set up a statewide legal service program.

Headed by Wyoming Supreme Court Justice James Burke, the commission plans to ask the Legislature this winter for a one-time appropriation of $500,000 to set up a statewide system and for a $10 to $15 increase in filing fees in the district and circuit courts to run it.

via Advocates push for free legal aid services.

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