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Public Defenders

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posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 09:00 PM
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So LWT is back from their break and their episode this week is about Public Defenders. The video gives some pretty crazy statistics:
95% of all PD cases are guilty pleas (which goes hand in hand with our 94% chance of being in prison for a guilty plea than a judges ruling).
PD's in some instances get as little as 7 minutes per case.
In 43 or 44 states if you can't afford a lawyer and are given a PD the state will still bill you, and if you lose the case (such as if you plead guilty) they'll bill you for the prosecution as well. And if you can't pay these fines, the court gives you even more fines and arrests you on contempt of court.
In one case mentioned in the video in Florida a man had to sit in jail without trial because he couldn't pay the public defender fee to register a plea. When he finally did get one registered and he couldn't pay the fee, after being let out of jail they simply arrested him against for failure to pay his court costs, where he went right back to jail while fees that he couldn't pay continued to pile up.

This is absolutely insane. My step dad is a public defender locally, I can attest to their workload. He puts in 12 hours a day 6-7 days per week, only gets paid for 8 of that (at low rates since he's a PD), and still has cases that get backlogged. People sit in jail around here for months at a time until their court appointed lawyer can get around to the case.

There's countless threads around here about the justice system and how the whole thing has devolved into plea bargains, but is it any wonder that's what we have when the lawyers can't even properly work on their cases? Arrest volumes are so high that the system has basically stopped any legal representation just to maximize the legal fees it can collect.




posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 09:09 PM
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The PD system is another big government failure.

Failure for the victims, successful for others.




posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 09:19 PM
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originally posted by: xuenchen
The PD system is another big government failure.

Failure for the victims, successful for others.



And what would you do different? Would you remove the (relatively recent) constitutional protections that give you a right to an attorney as part of due process? If you don't remove that, it means the government needs to step in and give you a lawyer.

Is the failure perhaps a result of the mantra of big government failure, and a desire to starve that failure of a government of resources which ensures there's not enough money to pay enough lawyers to cover peoples cases?

Or is it perhaps a systemic flaw of a judicial system that has too many laws on the books which results in too many many trials to process?

Or is it a response from the judicial system in order to fund itself and law enforcement in response to inadequate budgets?



posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 09:53 PM
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The real problem is the sheer number of people that are charged / found guilty / sent to jail.

The US has the highest % of its people in jail, in the whole world.

As a start, stop putting people in jail for using drugs. They could be treated as victims of the society rather than felons.

That one change would relax the whole system.

The major flaw in the system is that it is a revenue stream. A justice system must never earn money, it is a recipe for corruption. Fines levied on citizens should go into a pool and be returned to the people at say tax time.

Add to that the sheer complexity of the law and the phrase, 'Not knowing the law is no excuse' is just pathetic. No one can be aware of all of the laws, it is just not possible!

If 'learned' people such as judges and lawyers can argue the law back and forward ... well, it is just pathetic! What chance do We The People have?

P



posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 10:38 PM
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a reply to: pheonix358




If 'learned' people such as judges and lawyers can argue the law back and forward ... well, it is just pathetic! What chance do We The People have?



Its like any other club...you are either in or your not.....these guys go to court to argue then meet at the pub later for giggles and high fives......



posted on Sep, 15 2015 @ 01:46 AM
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As Phonex said its a problem with too many people being charged with crimes, and I will expand on that from my pov.

Police dont spend 4 years studying law, nor do they have to do another 2 years of their articles. Police do a short training course to show them how to use a gun, where the closest doughnut shop is and how to steal peoples drugs. Police have no idea about the law, they just charge people en mass and throw everyone to the mercy of the courts.

The courts, as outlined in the OP, cant handle the volume of cases and most are not allocated the resources to defend.

I see two solutions:
Stop charging people with victimless crimes

OR

Get rid of police!.

Oh the "tough on crime" goose-steppers will be crying about "thugs" taking over their neighborhoods. This is not the case. You take the role of law enforcement away from the police (who are under the authority of the elected government) and you give that role back to the courts, so you have people who actually know about law making decisions whether to lay charges or not--that way only cases with a solid body of evidence end up before the Judge and those where there the test of law fails get thrown out immediately.

But you know--the government NEEDS its police to enforce their agenda, they wont give up their hench-goons easily. For the US it will end in a civil war, the amount of militarised pigs, the problem with disbanding their criminal gangs becomes one where only another militarised force can take them down--and you have a second amendment just for that!.



posted on Sep, 15 2015 @ 04:48 AM
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a reply to: pheonix358


The major flaw in the system is that it is a revenue stream. A justice system must never earn money, it is a recipe for corruption. Fines levied on citizens should go into a pool and be returned to the people at say tax time.


It is a revenue stream but not for the justice system, though their salaries are paid through it. At the local level (towns, counties, city, states) there's still a three branch system in place, executive, legislative, judicial... the legislative is usually made up of prominent business persons who concentrate on keeping their taxes low which depletes treasuries and threatens infrastructure as well as their government salaries, education, law enforcement, emergency services etc.

That's why we find that there are so many more arrestable offenses now and that vicious cycle of arrest, fine, arrest, fine, arrest, jail... that's how treasuries don't go bust. Then there's the private, for profit prison system... so even if they don't get money off a person through the fines and fees part, they get money off inmate quotas once a person is sentenced to prison time.



posted on Sep, 15 2015 @ 06:54 PM
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originally posted by: Aazadan

In 43 or 44 states if you can't afford a lawyer and are given a PD the state will still bill you, and if you lose the case (such as if you plead guilty) they'll bill you for the prosecution as well. And if you can't pay these fines, the court gives you even more fines and arrests you on contempt of court.


Is this accurate? Can you provide evidence/law because it doesn't make the least bit of sense. That's like charging prisoners for their own cost of incarceration and I can't see how this is in ANY way legal.

How can they bill you for the prosecution when it's tax based? How can they (legally) fine you for not being able to pay the fines? I know courts are profit based in general, but this makes even less sense.

Need some facts other than an Oliver video I can't/won't watch.
edit on 15-9-2015 by Liquesence because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 15 2015 @ 07:26 PM
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a reply to: Liquesence

The facts on that were in the video. I do wish that shows like The Daily Show or LWT had to post their sources at the end, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Here's a few articles on the subject though, you can find more by googling charging for public defender
www.npr.org...
usatoday30.usatoday.com...
america.aljazeera.com...
www.dailykos.com...
www.chicagonow.com...
blogs.findlaw.com...

Here's a quote from the USA Today article

In Michigan, the report says, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association found the "threat" of having to pay the full cost of assigned counsel caused misdemeanor defendants to waive their right to attorneys 95% of the time.


Basically, what happens is that in order to get a PD in the first place you have to pay a filing fee which typically ranges around $100. Then, if you lose the case (including by pleading guilty) you pay the prosecutions costs which depending on the case usually range from $200 up to $1000. Failure to pay these costs results in non payment fees and contempt of court charges which throw you right back in prison until you pay. In most states, after paying the application fee you get a lawyer for your case but are billed for it in installments afterwards, regardless of ability to pay.

When it comes to fining someone when these services are tax based, budgets are simply too right. In order to cut costs or to avoid tax increases they've started going this route to help fund the system. Where we really run into problems with this system is that PD's simply don't have the resources to defend people in court. In one state a PD has an average of 1000 cases per year while the recommended number is 150, In others like Louisiana (which is in my links) the PD offices simply turn people away and say they're on their own, while in others PD's are so overworked they have a mere 7 minutes per case. It takes longer to microwave a Stouffers Lasagna than they have to build you a court defense and these PD offices for the most part don't have investigators either so they can't gather any evidence for a defense.

Edit: One more link, this one is from the State of Ohio rather than a website
www.opd.ohio.gov...

Here, you're determined financially unable to pay for a lawyer, but that you have enough funds if you're at 187% of the poverty line or less to repay your public defender.
edit on 15-9-2015 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)



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