Otto says cuts are potential death blow to program.
Oklahoma City Federal Public Defender Susan Otto is warning that sequestration budget cuts are a potential death blow to the federal public defender program. "This is the first time in the history of this organization that we've had to furlough people," she told KTOK News. "This is the first time a budget crisis has reached this point." Instead of closing her office one day a week, she is allowing her atorneys to schedule furlough days to accomodate their docket. "The only reason I'm able to stay open is because I'm missing three people I will not be able to replace." She says two people recently retired and one person resigned. "This is certainly one of the most challenging things we have ever faced," she said. And she's been told to expect an even worse situation next fiscal year. She's been told to expect another 23 percent budget reduction. "I don't have any spare people or non-essential workers in this office. I will have no choice but to fire mission critical people."