The New York Times is spotlighting the issue here, but the problem is hardly new. There have been numerous stories over the last couple of years concerning the woefully inadequate resources in many public defender offices.
Unfortunately, with drastic budget cuts looming in many states, this problem is going to get worse before it gets better. Work-stoppages, strikes, and other forms of protest are likely to increase. (Here's an article that reviews some recent examples and offers strategic advice for public defenders going forward.) The picture is not pretty, and it's about to get uglier.
(Orginally posted by Prof. Andrew Perlman on Legal Ethics Forum)