gideon v. wainwright
I'm just a tiny cog in America's vast Criminal Injustice System. My defendants may be guilty -- but seldom of what they are charged with. They are rarely convicted of what they actually did and are never sentenced fairly.
It is important to note that, just as seeking the right to counsel in certain limited types of cases does not diminish the
Speaking at Harvard Law, "Making a Murderer" Attorney Dean Strang Highlights Our Troubling Rate of Wrongful Convictions--and Suggests a Solution
The vast majority of prosecutors are true professionals, keenly aware of their immense power and its consequent responsibility. They form accurate conclusions on guilt far more often than the converse. Still, cognitive bias and overconfidence touch us all.
In 1963, the United States Supreme Court held in Gideon v. Wainwright that poor criminal defendants are entitled to legal representation at the state's expense. Unfortunately, the vision of the Gideon decision has never been realized at the state level.
No Lawyers? No Jail. Judge Demands Constitution Be Respected in Louisiana Public Defender Catastrophe
New Orleans Criminal Court Judge Arthur Hunter, a former police officer, ruled that seven people awaiting trial in jail without adequate legal defense must be released. The law is clear. It seems the only way Louisiana will respect the Constitution is to follow Judge Hunter's ultimatum. No lawyers? No jail.
Judge Jane Kelly is still available, should the next president be listening.
Louisiana is extraordinary in that the primary source for public defense funding comes from fees defendants must pay if found guilty of a crime. That means public defenders can only guarantee their salary if enough of their clients are convicted of crimes. Acquittals are bad for business.
Ironically, Speaker Boehner resorted to the American justice system to sue President Obama, the very system he has worked relentlessly to underfund for indigents. Instead of suing Obama, he should start fixing the system he and his colleagues broke.
Advising the accused is not a politically popular job. But it is a necessary one. To criticize defense attorneys, the chief checks against prosecutorial abuse, is to promote a judicial system of error by stigmatizing a key motivator for better prosecution.
Taxpayers are paying thousands of dollars to send people to prisons when the fines are less than the cost of incarceration. Some counties even brag about the amount of money raised from fines, but they are using false math.