Florida abandoned legal aid. Jacksonville can fix that

Florida abandoned legal aid. Jacksonville can fix that

COMMENTARY | Mayor Lenny Curry’s proposed $1.4 billion budget — paired with a planned $500 million in park improvements, road resurfacings, sewer and water line extensions and drainage work — is among the most ambitious spending plans in Jacksonville’s recent history, representing persistently elusive progress toward addressing long-neglected needs in every corner of the city.

There is at least one small step left to take.

Unlike defendants facing criminal charges, people mired in civil legal problems — wrongful evictions, wrongful foreclosures, medically needy patients improperly booted off Medicaid, senior citizens bilked by unscrupulous contractors, veterans fighting for custody of their children — have no right to an attorney no matter how financially strapped they are or how unjust their story. A patchwork of remarkable organizations across the state like Jacksonville Area Legal Aid are their last and often only line of defense.

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