Here's some breaking news (steady yourself) The NY Times reports here that Public Defenders are (gasp!) overworked.
The issue is money. Public Defender offices are underfunded. People will pay for prisons but not the legal representation to keep people who don't belong in prison out of prison.
It has mostly always been that way, and it doesn't appear change is on the horizon.
That the PDs are overworked and under paid is no secret.
Here's the dirty secret of criminal defense:
the private practitioner who is in a cut throat competition to get cases is also overworked and underpaid. The difference is that the private attorney is responsible for their own problems.
The PD Paradox ( (c) Rumpole 2014) is that the capitalistic-free market system is producing this result: the unsophisticated client, thinking that the free PD won't best serve their interests, hires a private lawyer who may and often performs worse for them. The PD is often the best and most experienced lawyer the client is going to see.
In exchange for paying some money, the client gets a lawyer with a fancier office and perhaps a more responsive staff. But what the client doesn't know is that the lawyer, in offering the lowest possible fee to secure the case, has only one incentive/goal: plea out the case as quickly as possible with as little work and investigation as possible. Meanwhile, the PD has the investigative resources to more thoroughly investigate the case. The PD is committed to taking all the depositions and filing all the motions necessary to defend the client, no matter how long it takes.
The free market has driven down prices through competition, but it has not raised the quality of service offered by private lawyers. Quality and efficiency are usually (and in theory are required to be) the most important byproduct of competition.
What to do?
See You In Court.
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