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April 10, 2013

New Brennan Center report on Gideon and indigent defense

Via e-mail, I received news of this new report on the right to counsel titled "Gideon at 50: Three Reforms to Revive the Right to Counsel."  Here is how the e-mail described its context and contents:

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law releases a new report examining the numerous challenges public defenders face in providing legal representation to poor clients.  Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the constitutional right to an attorney for criminal defendants in Gideon v. Wainwright, many public defenders are so underfunded and overworked that clients are not getting the legal defense they were guaranteed, further feeding our nation’s mass incarceration problem.  In this report, Thomas Giovanni and Roopal Patel identify impediments to effective counsel and propose three common sense reforms.

“The underfunding of legal defense for poor people increases the risk that innocent people will be convicted,” said Giovanni.  “The overcriminalization of petty, non-violent activity diverts scarce resources from real public safety priorities.  Until legislators commit the necessary resources to public defenders and rethink the classification of low-level offenses, the cycle of mass incarceration will continue at great societal, political, and fiscal costs.”

April 10, 2013 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Problem: The public defender now serves as a mere salesman for the prosecution plea offer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 11, 2013 9:03:59 AM

If one pays taxes and receives value in return, that is called profit. Examples, a much needed road, police protection.

If one pays and receives no value in return, that is called rent. It is a synonym for armed robbery. If you do not pay your taxes, a man with a gun, will come to your house and help you do so. The you get nothing of value in return. Examples, all lawyer utterances and jobs in government. They are not only worthless, but destructive of value. Every year every lawyer lives, he destroys a $million of value in our economy. If this criminal cult enterprise could be controlled, our growth would be 10% a year, all our social problems would end in a month, including all crime.

In the case of the public defender, the results are a high crime rate, a high error rate of innocents being sent to prison, and the coddling of real criminals. Not just worthless, actively, intentionally destructive. These cult criminals always say, "We are defending the constitution." They are liars also. They are defending lawyer government make work jobs.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 11, 2013 10:44:54 AM

SC --

"Problem: The public defender now serves as a mere salesman for the prosecution plea offer."

His client is free to do what most people do with most salesman: Say no.

But it is almost always a stupid client who does so. The PD knows that the client is going to be much better off taking the one dumbed-down count the prosecutor has offered just to clear the case than going to trial on the four counts in the original indictment.

As you know, I dislike plea bargaining. It's an out for lazy prosecutors (and lazy defense lawyers). But if the question is whether the defendant is better off taking it than having the whole nasty mess spelled out in front of the jury, the answer is: You bet.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 11, 2013 11:54:57 AM

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