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DC public defender service establishes hotline for protesters to speak with legal counsel

Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF

A 24-hour hotline for protesters to seek legal counsel was made available Monday, the District of Columbia Public Defender Service announced.

The hotline is for anyone who has been arrested, has an open arrest warrant, or has been questioned by law enforcement in connection with protesting in Washington, D.C., the D.C. Public Defender Service (PDS) announced. Confidential calls will be answered by a criminal offense attorney at no charge.

“After speaking with you, a lawyer from our office may be able to provide full representation in your legal matter; however, speaking with an attorney on the Hotline and receiving preliminary advice is not a promise that PDS will be able to represent you in your case,” PDS said.

PDS may refer cases to outside resources if they are unable to represent a client, according to the announcement. The PDS will also help the Center for Justice & Accountability and other pro bono attorneys while they help clients involved in D.C. protests.

“If you are a protest organizer, we encourage you to call the Hotline at least a day in advance of your planned protest to help us ensure lawyers are available to answer any calls during the time of your planned event,” the announcement says.

The hotline will be available through a PDS pilot project until January 31, 2021, according to the announcement.

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