What Public Defender hasn’t heard that complaint from a putative client?
The NY Times has reported on a STUDY in which Federal Public Defenders are measured against private lawyers appointed pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act. The study sampled cases in Federal districts in which PDs and CJA lawyers were randomly appointed meaning, the study said “ that the two sorts of lawyers had the same underlying distribution of guilt in the cases they represent and thus are equally likely to lose at trial.”
The results, not surprising to us, was that the PDs consistently achieved better and quicker results for their clients.
From the article:
Over all, defendants represented by court-appointed lawyers received sentences averaging about eight months longer. People convicted of violent crimes were given five more months, while those convicted on weapons charges received nearly a year and half more. But those convicted of
immigration offenses received sentences that averaged 2.5 months less if represented by appointed lawyers.
Appointed lawyers took longer to resolve cases through plea bargains — 20 days on average, a 10 percent difference.
“These results appear consistent with the hourly wage structure,” Ms. Iyengar wrote, as that structure creates incentives for appointed lawyers to take longer to resolve cases.
Rumpole says, this is a matter of economics, specialization, and experience. Federal PDs are hired with more experience than their state counterparts. Federal PDs are paid very well, and unlike the private CJA lawyers many of which cannot confine their practice to just handling federal cases 100% of the time, the PDs quickly gain more experience in the cases they are assigned to handle then the CJA lawyers.
Bottom line- there is nothing surprising about this study. Give an experienced lawyer a good salary and have them specialize in one area of the law like criminal defense, and there is no doubt that they will achieve better results than the jack of all trades. Think about it, if you needed a difficult surgery, would you go to a GP who dabbles in surgery, or a surgeon who specializes in the procedure you need? Even if that surgeon was working for say JMH, which is a public hospital, you would be better off with the surgeon every time.
NO BOYCOTT HERE.
Our favourite Federal Blogger has ruffled some feathers by suing the US Government to allow internet broadcasts of “cock fights” from Puerto Rico where it is legal. Mr. Markus, “ace defense attorney- cum- pugilistic Poultry provocateur” has incurred the wrath of the US Humane Society with his lawsuit. While we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of siding with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on this one, we hope Mr. Markus avoids becoming tarred and feathered in this cock and bull battle. If you see a lawyer scurrying from Federal Court being harassed by a large chicken protesting the lawsuit, lets us know, as we can then post a well deserved "I told you so."
PLEASE COME TO MIAMI FOR THE FALL
Various news media outlets reported yesterday that Governor Crist has appointed the Dade State Attorneys office in investigations into Broward Judge Zack and former Judge Seidlin. Based on our post yesterday about possible improprieties with Judge Charlie Kaplan, can we expect the Dade SAO to form the “Broward Judicial Investigations Unit” which might just be known by its initials “The BJ Unit”? Hmmm…..
Can you just hear the Broward Judges complaining how Miami Judges don’t call their cases out of turn, set their cases for 8AM status conferences, and deny continuances the first time up?
From what we know that has been reported, we see a qualitative difference between the alleged acts of Judge Zack and Seidlin. Zack quite simply should have known better and will have to suffer the consequences (which we think should NOT be removal of office) for taking a loan from an attorney who appeared before him.
Seidlin on the other hand, whenever he wasn’t crying on the bench, or playing tennis, apparently had his sticky fingers in many pots- from receiving real estate favours from elderly neighbors, to sending lawyers on shopping trips for his wife. Selling his robes merits strong punishment, if in fact that is what happened here.
See You In Court tomorrow.