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Budget Cuts Impact Fresno Infant Drowning Case

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The woman accused of drowning her baby in the bathtub of a Fresno motel, now has a new attorney. The Public Defender's Office says it can't afford to handle her case.

Police say Gabriela Espinosa confessed to killing her two-month-old boy earlier this month. Public defenders say Espinosa suffered from postpartum depression and was on the run from an abusive husband.

The county will now pay a private attorney to take over the case. The Public Defender's Office has lost more than thirty-percent of its attorneys, and half its investigators in the last few years.

Managers decided to hand off the case, in spite of a connection with Espinosa.

Public Defender, Margarita Martinez said, "I felt that I'd built a relationship already and it pained me this morning to have to walk into the courtroom and tell her we were not going to represent her. And I think it was very hard for her. In fact, she did cry when I told her that."

The baby's father was also in court today, but he declined to talk to Action News.

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