Public Defense

According to the Constitution, Americans are supposed to have the right to an effective attorney even if they cannot afford one. Public defenders provide poorer populations the right to defend their case, however many state public defender systems are terrible– unorganized and underfunded. This fact is acknowledged by New York, the state has recently created a $12 million grant pool to help improve some of its counties’ criminal defense systems. However, hope for change is not strong–it currently costs $380 million a year to run the way it does underfunded. New Orleans, Louisiana also has one of the worst public defender systems in the country. Brace yourself, some of these facts may shock you. It is estimated that New Orleans public defenders worked on 19,000 misdemeanors annually, per lawyer. This means that each of these cases had an average of about seven minutes spent on them.

Why?

In the 1963 Gideon vs Wainwright case, the Supreme Court ruled that the government must extend free legal counsel to those who cannot afford it in criminal cases. However since this case, it seems that some states have failed to attribute sufficient funds to their public defense system. A New York Times article explains the reason for this discrepancy. It said, “State public defenders represent the vast majority of criminal defendants across the country, but… they remain at a ‘staggering disadvantage’ because of the resources that go to law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices.” Public defenders, though many are good attorneys, are overwhelmed and overloaded with cases in many states. They cannot keep up with the amount of people they must serve, and as a result, “indigent people sit in jail uncharged, sometimes for months, waiting for a lawyer whose workload far exceeds any reasonable standard.”

If you are in need of criminal defense, assure yourself that you will get the attention you need for your case, and hire an experienced attorney. Call Carroll Troberman, PLLC to get the best representation available to you.

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  • Exclusively Practices Criminal Law
  • Serving The Austin Are For Over A Decade
  • Successfully Defended Thousands Of Criminal Cases
  • Experienced as a Former Prosecutor