Here’s one way to push back from insane state cuts

Jay Nixon has been ordered to defend a case, as an attorney, after he continued to slash the public defender’s office budget.

What else should one do when an office is so overworked and so understaffed? And this is not just the situation in Missouri.

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3 responses to “Here’s one way to push back from insane state cuts

  1. What we have here is more rationing of rights based on economic class.

    Sixth Amendment jurisprudence states clearly that the right to legal counsel means effective legal counsel, not just some suit at a table shuffling paperwork.

    One of the reasons this particular constitutional mandate has really never been realized is because of…well…lawyers whose demands for competency and effectiveness rarely, if ever, match their demands for funds.

    More than just funding needs to be upgraded in the court system. Standards of Practice need to be upgraded and made uniform among all the States. That includes a workable system of review and accountability. Equal protection under the law means equal protection under the law. (14th Amendment) Ten to maybe twenty minutes with an overworked and underpaid lawyer…or a governor…under any circumstances, cannot fulfill that constitutional mandate.

    Don’t get me started.

    • Go ahead. Start. This jeopardizes a basic human man right.

      • I’ll hand it off to Andrew Cohen at The Atlantic: How America Lost the Right To Counsel, 50 Years After ‘Gideon’. (Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court case that held the assistance of counsel is a fundamental right to a fair trial, and that trial and conviction absent assistance of counsel for the defendant violated the 14th Amendment: equal protection under the law.) He’s more eloquent and a much better writer.

        It’s long form. But you like history…right?

        The takeaway is: the acceptance of token representation as “effective” counsel within our legal system…which systematically denies equal protection under the law to low income defendants as a matter of course…lies squarely in the lap of the legal profession. Lawyers. Judges. Justices. Top to bottom. All have conspired to defeat the mandates of the 6th Amendment, the 14th Amendment and the ruling in Gideon.
        Get Out The Checkbook or Sucks To Be You. The Law of the Land.

        And as it’s pointed out in Cohen’s article:

        “Of the more than $146.5 billion [as of 2008] spent annually on criminal justice, over half is allocated to support the police officers and prosecutors who investigate and prosecute cases, while only about two to three percent goes toward indigent defense.”

        Justice Be Damned. The corollary to Sucks To Be You.

        And then there’s plea bargaining.
        But that’s another topic altogether.

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